Opinion·Point of View

Erin O'Toole: Canadians want leaders who respect them enough to tell them the truth

CBC News invited all four Conservative Party leadership candidates to write about the key ideas in their platform, why Canada needs these ideas now, and what actions they would prioritize in their first 100 days as leader of the nation if the party is elected to form the next government.

O'Toole says Canada needs a government ready for the challenge of rebuilding

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Erin O'Toole makes his opening statement at the start of the French Leadership Debate in Toronto on June 17. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

This column is a point of view by Conservative Party leadership candidate Erin O'Toole. CBC News invited all four candidates to write about the key ideas in their platform, why Canada needs these ideas now, and what actions they would prioritize in their first 100 days as leader of the nation if the party is elected to form the next government. CBC News will have special coverage of the Conservative leadership race results on Sunday Aug. 23 on cbc.ca, CBC Television and CBC News Network starting at 5 p.m. ET, and on CBC Radio One starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Canadians across the country know how great a challenge our country faces.

In Calgary, entire office towers stood empty even before COVID-19. In Saguenay, Que., international investors like Warren Buffett pulled out of a critical natural gas project because of the "political instability" of blockades. In Niagara Falls, Ont., the tourism industry has been devastated by COVID-19. In the interior of B.C., lumber trucks sit empty.

Working families across the country don't seem to be part of Trudeau's vision for the future of our country.

Years of Liberal attacks on the resource sector have forced tens of thousands of workers out of a job. Their failure to secure a softwood lumber deal has closed mills in B.C. and pushed thousands of forestry workers onto the unemployment line. In Ontario, the failure of the Liberals on trade and tariffs led to thousands more being out of work. Oshawa's GM assembly line, where my father worked for decades, saw its last car roll off the line in December. 

Across this great country, people are losing their jobs. People are losing their homes. People are losing their hope.

More than ever before, Canada needs a government ready for the challenge of rebuilding.

Earning trust

I am not a career politician. I spent 12 years in the military and a decade in the private sector. Like you, I know what it means to succeed by working hard and delivering results. Like you, I know what it means to balance a family budget and to have hectic mornings getting the kids organized.

As a Member of Parliament from a suburban Toronto riding, I know we need more urban and suburban Canadians to see that their values of liberty, family and equality have always been at the core of the Conservative Party.

Earning their trust and their vote is how Conservatives will win the next election.

Our country is its greatest when we stand together, have each other's back, and respect one another. ​​​- Erin O'Toole

Canadians gave Justin Trudeau's Liberals a second chance in the last election — a chance that Trudeau has squandered on scandal after scandal.

Our country is facing its most serious economic challenges since the Great Depression, a national unity crisis, and a pandemic. While our Premiers have shown real leadership, the Trudeau government was slow to act and has run out of ideas for rebuilding our economy and our country.

Just when Trudeau needed the trust of Canadians the most, he squandered it by giving sweetheart deals to some of his biggest supporters. Canadians will be looking for an alternative to Liberal cronyism and corruption. I will be ready to hold Justin Trudeau to account with my seat in the House of Commons from day one as Conservative leader, but our party will do more than just oppose. 

From left: Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidates Derek Sloan, Erin O'Toole, Peter MacKay and Leslyn Lewis are seen at an English-language debate in Toronto on June 18. The leadership election results will be announced Aug. 23. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

Conservative principles

Politicians too often spend their time talking about the country that we don't want to see. Canadians relate to Conservative principles when we show them we are fighting for something.

We are for a strong and united Canada that respects the provinces and the people of this great country.

We are for a strong economy and a balanced budget to support the success of our children, as opposed to saddling them with even more debt.

We are for Canada standing up for our values and our allies on the world stage again.

We are for a clean environment, ethical practices in industry and innovative technology to support emission reduction at home and around the world.

But, more than anything else, we are for jobs and opportunity for working Canadians.

We are for freedom of speech and a competitive media landscape that reflects all voices and allows local news outlets to thrive. The website you are reading this on may be the worst offender. CBC Digital competes with and threatens the future of local newspapers, using your tax dollars to do it. Look above and beside this article, there are paid advertisements there. CBC uses tax dollars to bankroll this website, then scoops advertising revenue from small local news outlets. And then, the Liberals propose spending even more of your tax money to bail those papers out. I will get to the source of the problem by ending the government funding that lets this fight undermine your local newspaper.

Canadians want leaders who respect them enough to tell them the truth. 

Canadians want a government that gives them the chance to succeed and keeps our great country united. Our country is its greatest when we stand together, have each other's back, and respect one another. 

As leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, I will stand for exactly that.

About the Author

Erin O'Toole

Conservative Party leadership candidate

Erin O'Toole is the MP for the Ontario riding of Durham and a leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada.

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