Statement from Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole
January 17, 2021
Within minutes of becoming leader of Canada’s Conservatives, I said that I want the Party to be one that welcomes all Canadians, regardless of race, religion, economic standing, education, or sexual orientation. I've said that as Prime Minister I will govern on behalf of all Canadians. I am pro-choice. I believe in a Canada that welcomes people of every background. I've said that Conservatives have to take inequality seriously. I’ve spoken out on the need to help those who haven’t kept up with Canada’s growth and prosperity over the years. I've lamented the decline of private sector union membership. I have raised the unfairness of the blood ban for gay men. On my first occasion to rise in the House of Commons as Leader, I raised the issue of reconciliation with Indigenous people.
The Conservatives are a moderate, pragmatic, mainstream party – as old as Confederation – that sits squarely in the centre of Canadian politics. My singular focus is to get Canada’s economy back on track as quickly as possible to create jobs and secure a strong future for all Canadians. There is no place for the far right in our Party.
The events at the Capitol were horrifying and I was quick to condemn them unequivocally. Conservatives believe in free and fair elections, the peaceful transfer of power, opportunity for all, and full accountability of government. We apply those same standards in our own country, and that’s why we have been surprised that the Liberals have been so quick to shut down accountability through prorogation, obfuscation, and delay. It is also incredibly arrogant and dangerous for the Liberal government to posture for an election in the middle of a national health and economic crisis. They should put the interests of Canadians ahead of the narrow political interests of the Liberal Party.
I am proud of Canada as a welcoming, modern, and inclusive country. I've shown that by wearing the uniform of my country for 12 years alongside exceptional Canadians from all walks of life. I am also proud of the history of the Conservative Party being made up of trailblazing Canadians from all backgrounds. Our Party was the first to see a female cabinet minister and was part of numerous firsts for MPs and ministers from many cultural groups. We will continue to grow our Party and ensure that more and more Canadians help us secure a strong future for this incredible country.
If the Liberals want to label me as “far right,” they are welcome to try. Canadians are smart and they will see this as an attempt to mislead people and import some of the fear and division we have witnessed in the United States. I am happy to have my character and my experience in and out of politics held up alongside Mr. Trudeau on any occasion. I don't believe leadership is bestowed by birthright. I am a middle-class kid from the suburbs of Toronto who has dedicated his life to service and understands what is needed at this time of crisis. I will restore ethical and principled leadership to the country. I will address alienation in the west and the concerns of thousands of families who feel left out of the prosperity in this country. I will focus on the national interest when I represent our country internationally. I will ensure that Canada is never again unprepared for a national crisis and slow to respond like we have been under this Liberal government. And I will work tirelessly to restore public confidence in their political leaders and federal institutions.
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