OTTAWA — A Conservative sitting on the party’s national council says Erin O’Toole should undergo an accelerated leadership review by members following her electoral defeat, the first open challenge to remain in the role.

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Burt Chen represents Ontario, but says he is speaking as a loyal member and that many others are unhappy with the more liberal direction O’Toole has taken to the party, which is a party loyalist. This was the opposite of how people ran their leadership competition to win. .

“If Mr. O’Toole’s decision pays off in forming a Conservative government, I will be very happy to give him the benefit of the doubt,” Chen said.

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“Given that this was not the case, I believe it needs to be done.”

In the race for leadership, O’Toole campaigned as a “true blue” conservative, making promises like axing the liberals’ carbon price, only to present one of his own after winning.

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Conservative leaders also appeared to reverse their position to protect the CBC and the discretionary rights of doctors from referring patients for services they morally object to, such as medical in dying or abortion. Help.

O’Toole also caused confusion when he signed a footnote in his forum promising to repeal the liberal ban of some 1,500 models of firearms, including the AR-15 and Ruger Mini-14, instead maintaining his prohibition pending the results. promised to keep did a classification review.

Chen has launched an online petition To collect signatures from members supporting the party’s national council to call a referendum on O’Toole’s leadership ahead of the one scheduled in 2023.

He says that there could be an election before then and O’Toole was finally the elected member, so the caucus should know how they feel.

“There are other councilors who are receiving feedback from members representing our provinces that the campaign was disappointing, and Mr. O’Toole needs to take responsibility,” Chen said.

So far, the petition has garnered over 600 signatures. A request for comment from O’Toole’s office was sent to the president of the party.

“Canadian Conservatives have a clear process to ensure that members have their say. At the first national convention after an election where Conservatives do not form a government, our Constitution stipulates that one vote to determine whether the leadership selection process will be involved,” party president Rob Batherson wrote in a statement to The Canadian Press.

“At no time is there an online petition open to influence from liberals or members of any other party that is part of that process.”

The effort is the first public challenge O’Toole has faced as leader since Monday’s election, which has so far shown the Conservatives winning 119 seats, two fewer than his predecessor Andrew Scheer in 2019.

O’Toole has acknowledged that the party has failed to make the necessary gains in the Greater Toronto Area, Metro Vancouver and Quebec, and is committed to reviewing what went wrong.

He has repeatedly brushed off questions about the discrepancies between what he said during his leadership race and the more centrist platform he ran during the election campaign.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 22, 2021.