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Conservative caucus revolt triggers vote on Erin O'Toole's leadership – CBC News

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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is facing an internal revolt and some members of his caucus are prepared to trigger a vote on his future as early as Wednesday, sources told CBC News.

MPs opposed to O’Toole’s leadership have collected enough signatures — 35 so far — to hold a secret ballot to decide his fate, sources said.

The organizers of this effort have brought a letter with the names of the anti-O’Toole MPs to Scott Reid, the Conservative caucus chair. In a memo to all Tory MPs on Monday, Reid said he is prepared to have the vote on Wednesday’s national caucus meeting.

A vote by 50 per cent plus one of the 119 sitting Conservative MPs calling on O’Toole to step down would force him to make way for an interim leader immediately.

Sources tell CBC News that O’Toole’s caucus opponents believe they have the necessary votes, with at least 60 MPs agreeing that he has to go.

But in a statement Monday night, O’Toole said he has no plans to step down.

“I’m not going anywhere and I’m not turning back,” he said in a Facebook post. “Canada needs us to be united and serious.”

Sources said the anti-O’Toole contingent has had more than enough signatures to prompt such a vote for weeks, but they held back triggering the secret ballot process until they could be sure a majority of MPs were ready to cast him aside.

“He’s done it to himself,” a source said of O’Toole. “He’s done nothing to endear himself to caucus.

“After the election, the support from caucus was a reflex. It wasn’t support for Erin, it was, ‘C’mon guys, do we really want to do this again?’ Erin has done nothing since then to win them over.”

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal party matters.

Tories have choice of 2 paths, O’Toole says

In his statement, O’Toole said he is ready to square off with the MPs intent on bringing him down.

He said Conservative MPs have a choice between “two roads” in the upcoming caucus vote, one is “angry, negative and extreme,” while the other will take the party in a more modern direction with an embrace of “inclusion, optimism, ideas and hope.”

O’Toole said the first option is a “dead end” that will see the party become “the NDP of the right,” a protest party rather than a viable alternative to the Liberal Party. The second road will ensure the party “better reflects the Canada of 2022.

WATCH | O’Toole reflects on his leadership performance: 

‘There’s a lot I have to learn,’ O’Toole says following post-election report

5 days ago

Duration 1:44

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole says his election studio sessions cut him off from meeting more Canadians and that he was told that during the last week of the campaign he sounded “scripted.” 1:44

Amid the fracas over his future, O’Toole said “it’s a time for a reckoning” and MPs must decide if they’re with him — or with the likes of Randy Hillier and Derek Sloan, two right-wing politicians who were ejected from the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and the federal Tories respectively.

O’Toole said he will accept the result of the caucus vote and “the signers of the letter must accept it too. They brought it. They’ll have to live with it.”

Conservative sources were floating several names Monday night of possible candidates for interim leader, but a source close to former leader Andrew Scheer said the Saskatchewan MP will not put his name forward.

Conservative MP Bob Benzen, seen here addressing supporters in April 2017, says O’Toole has failed to deliver on promises made during the Tories’ last leadership race. (Todd Korol/The Canadian Press)

Disappointing results

Conservative MP Bob Benzen, who represents the riding of Calgary Heritage, said in a statement that caucus must have a say on O’Toole’s future because he produced disappointing results in the last election. Benzen is one of only seven sitting MPs who backed O’Toole in both the 2017 and 2020 Conservative leadership contests.

Benzen said O’Toole won the last leadership race in part because he promised to be a “principled conservative voice,” and yet adopted what Benzen called a “de facto carbon tax” and flip-flopped on firearms policy midway through the campaign.

O’Toole also won the leadership by promising to make inroads in the Greater Toronto Area. “Yet the Conservatives have, on net, lost a seat in the GTA under his leadership,” Benzen said, adding the party also dropped seats in Western Canada.

Benzen’s statement did not give a clear indication what if any involvement he might have in the effort to oust O’Toole. 

Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters launched a petition last fall calling for a vote on Erin O’Toole’s leadership. (Chris Rands/CBC)

He also criticized O’Toole for failing to “clearly stand up for the charter rights of Canadians during a pandemic,” a reference to vaccine mandates. 

A senior Conservative source close to O’Toole, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said this revolt stems from the December vote on the conversion therapy ban.

That source said the “far right of the party” is angry that O’Toole let that Liberal government legislation pass through both chambers at the end of the last session.

This source said Conservative MP Garnett Genuis is “spearheading the coup because he was in Latvia when we gave unanimous consent to make conversion therapy illegal.”

“This was all started by the group that are internally referred to as ‘the conversion crew,'” the source.

In a statement on social media, Genuis said members of O’Toole’s communications team are trying to “personally smear me by misstating my position on conversion therapy,” something he said was “beyond the pale.”

Faced criticism since election defeat

While he said he is not an organizer of the effort to remove O’Toole, Genuis said he did sign the letter calling for a leadership review. He said at least a third of the caucus, representing what he called a “broad cross-section of opinion,” want O’Toole out of the job.

“Mr. O’Toole should recognize that his position is untenable, rather than using lies to publicly attack members of his own team,” Genuis said.

O’Toole has faced criticism about his leadership since the day after the September election when Bert Chen, a now-suspended member of the party’s national council, called for his resignation.

“The feedback I have gotten over the past several months is that Mr. O’Toole has failed as a leader,” Chen told CBC News at the time, calling his flip-flops on carbon pricing, firearms and balanced budgets a “betrayal” for those who backed O’Toole in the leadership race.

Bert Chen, a two-term member of the Conservative party’s elected national council, launched a petition calling for O’Toole’s ouster after the last federal election. (CBC)

Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters later went public with her concerns, calling for an early leadership review well before a planned vote on his fate at the 2023 Conservative convention.

While O’Toole campaigned as a “true blue” Conservative in the leadership race, Batters has said he subsequently ran an election campaign “nearly indistinguishable from Trudeau’s Liberals.”

“Mr. O’Toole flip-flopped on policies core to our party within the same week, the same day, and even within the same sentence. The members didn’t have a say on that, but we must have one on his leadership,” Batters said in November.

O’Toole booted Batters out of the national caucus of MPs and senators after she launched a petition urging party members to back an earlier vote on his leadership. The Conservative Senate caucus and the Saskatchewan regional caucus subsequently agreed to keep her as a member of their respective groups in defiance of O’Toole’s wishes.

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It's all about the stats: What politics and baseball have in common – CBC.ca

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In his final column as host of The House, Chris Hall talks with three political strategists to examine the intersection between two of his favourite subjects: politics and baseball.

There’s a saying that life imitates art. But for my money, there’s another comparison that’s equally true. Politics imitates baseball.

Here’s the pitch.

Politics and baseball are filled with tradition. There are a lot of rules; some are written, and some really just time-honoured traditions. 

Today, both are becoming more reliant on modern-day metrics — data and statistics — to attract new supporters, and to win.

In baseball, those stats help managers decide when to deploy the infield shift, or put an extra person in the outfield to prevent the best hitters from getting on base.

In politics, the numbers tell campaign managers which ridings to visit and which campaign promise to promote. They know how many swing votes are available in each voting district. Parties keep data banks that tell them which address is home to a supporter, and which is home to a voter who might be convinced to join their side.

So it’s not surprising that many politicians and their strategists are also baseball fans. 

The House’s politics (and baseball) panel, left to right: Anne McGrath, national director for the NDP, Jason Lietaer, president of Enterprise Canada and the former Conservative strategist; and Zita Astravas, former Liberal spokesperson and current chief of staff to Bill Blair. (Submitted by Jason Lietaer and Zita Astravas, Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

There is a powerful connection between running the bases and running a campaign, according to Anne McGrath.

“I think that all campaigns are, or strive to be, data-driven now,” said McGrath, the NDP’s national director and a veteran of both federal and provincial campaigns.

“It is the key in politics. You have to find the people who support you and get them out to vote. So you have to know who they are and know where they are and know what they care about.”

McGrath was a die-hard fan of the Montreal Expos. The club moved years ago to Washington and she’s still not over it. But McGrath sees a lesson in the move, about the importance of not just maintaining a fan base, but finding ways to get new ones to the ballpark.

“You do have to know who your base is and you have to expand it. You have to bring more people in. And you have to do it in a way that is attentive to changing demographics and changing ways of communicating with people and getting people interested and involved and motivated,” she explained.

CBC News: The House9:32Take me out to the poll game

In one of his last shows, host Chris Hall combines two of his passions: baseball and politics. He speaks with three fellow baseball diehards who happen to be political insiders: Liberal staffer Zita Astravas, Conservative strategist Jason Lietaer and NDP national director Anne McGrath.

Jason Lietaer grew up reading baseball box scores and waiting impatiently for the weekend newspaper that included the stats for every American League player, including members of the hometown Toronto Blue Jays.

Lietaer, a former Conservative campaign strategist who now runs the government-relations firm Enterprise Canada, is a believer in mining data for insights into a player or into a campaign. But just gathering that data doesn’t guarantee victory in either baseball or politics, he said.

Sometimes the bottom of the ninth happens a month before the game even starts.– Jason Lietaer

The players on the field, or the candidates knocking on doors continue to play a key role in determining whether you win or lose. Plus, it’s important to interpret that data correctly

“And I would say in politics, we’re still sort of struggling with some of that,” Lietaer said. “You know, is there only one or two ways to read the data? How important is digital communication? How important is this piece of information?”

The Toronto Blue Jays Alejandro Kirk hits a single during a game against the Boston Red Sox in Toronto on June 28, 2022. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press)

A key lesson is figuring out what the statistics are telling you before the end of the game or before election night, to better adapt to the changing circumstances and give your team a better chance at victory.

“Sometimes you don’t realize you’re winning or losing an election [until] you’ve already won or lost it,” he said.

“Sometimes the bottom of the ninth happens a month before the game even starts.”

The politics and baseball panel was one of the last interviews Chris Hall did as the host of The House. He retired from CBC in June 2022. CBC Radio created this ‘farewell’ baseball card to mark the occasion. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

Zita Astravas is another political insider who spends a lot of time watching baseball. She’s worked on both federal and Ontario Liberal campaigns and is now chief of staff to Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.

“I think one of the things that drew me to politics and baseball is statistics, and I think it’s one of the things that you can find common ground in,” she said.

“You do it every day on a political campaign: you look at different ridings and craft who your best candidates are, what your target ridings are, just as you do on different players.”

It’s all about finding a hidden meaning in the numbers, an edge to exploit on the field or in the hustings.

It’s all in the hopes of answering the key question, McGrath says: “Did we hit it out of the park?”

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Politics Report: The People Asked for Time and Now They Get Time Because What They Really Wanted Was Time – Voice of San Diego

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Early Monday, our Lisa Halverstadt learned that the City Council was not going to vote on a proposed settlement over 101 Ash St. after all. Serves us right for expecting a climax in any long-running San Diego political affair. 

Maybe the settlement didn’t have the five votes it needed, maybe some new information materialized, or maybe the mayor’s explanation that they heard the public’s call that it needed more time to process the terms of the agreement was all there was too it. That last explanation would perhaps be the most exciting, since it would mark the first time in city history that a proceduralist consideration wasn’t just poorly disguised cover for some substantive difference of opinion. 

Nonetheless, former Mayor Kevin Faulconer jumped on KUSI Thursday to say he was happy that Mayor Todd Gloria had decided to delay the vote for a month until the public had ample time to fully absorb the particulars of a settlement that would have ended some city lawsuits, continue others, and lead to the acquisition of two massive pieces of downtown real estate for a City Hall redevelopment that hasn’t been planned and won’t be within the next month. The public would also then have enough time to grok the city attorney’s dissenting opinion on the settlement, or both legal and policy reasons. 

“I think you have to make sure that any proposed settlement is going to be a benefit to the city, a benefit to taxpayers and it’s not something that should be rushed,” he said. “I think we’ll hear a lot more about that in the coming months.” 

Clearly, now that we’ve made the difficult, brave decision not to rush the matter, ignoring the screaming hordes from the pro-rush caucus, we don’t need to be in any hurry to articulate whether the deal actually is a benefit to the city and taxpayers or not. The important thing is that now we have time.  

Brief CAP Opposition from the Cap’s Top Champion 

Back in Gloria’s first stint in the mayor’s office – in an interim position that didn’t really exist – Nicole Capretz led the charge within his administration for what became his landmark achievement during that time, even though it wasn’t passed until Faulconer was in office: the city’s Climate Action Plan. 

The city adopted a plan that said it would half its carbon footprint by 2035 by, among other things, transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy and getting half of people who live near transit to bike, walk or take transit to work by that same year. San Diego basked in national praise from the New York Times and elsewhere.  

This week, though, Capretz – who now runs a nonprofit group that pushes San Diego and other cities to do more within their climate plans – came out as an opponent of the updated version of the same Climate Action Plan that Gloria is now trying to pass. Even though the plan is ramping up its goals – the city would now by 2035 reach “net zero,” when the level of its greenhouse emissions are equal to the level absorbed by the environment (or new technology that removes carbon from the atmosphere) – Capretz and her group urged a “no” vote from a Council committee, because the city lacked a timeline and cost estimates for its commitments. They eventually got on board when city staff agreed to provide that by February. 

Still, it was interesting to hear Capretz, maybe the city’s top salesperson for the climate plan, acknowledge that proponents had made mistakes with the first plan by not setting clear cost and time requirements for each of the policies included in it. 

“We did not insist on an implementation plan for the first Climate Action Plan,” she told our MacKenzie Elmer. “We’re not going to make that mistake again.”  

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Murphy's Logic: Politics trumps public interest | CTV News – CTV News Atlantic

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The initial reluctance of governments, federal and provincial, to appoint a public inquiry into the N.S. mass shooting, was difficult to understand. It took the heartfelt pleas of the victims’ families and the fast rising tide of public opinion to make the politicians act.

And now we likely know why they were so reluctant.

Imperfect though it may be, the inquiry eventually appointed has now exposed the obscene political considerations that were already at play in the days that followed the horror of April 2020.

The evidence reveals that political leaders, who should have been overwhelmed only with grief and concern for the trauma and misery wrought by a madman, instead seemed to seize an overwhelming opportunity to advance their own partisan interests in toughening gun control.

There is reason to believe the PM or his people, certainly his Ministers, were attempting to dictate, manipulate or at least influence parts of the RCMP the narrative. That’s unacceptable, a brazen display of politics put ahead of public interest, moreover, it’s heartless.

The Commissioner of the RCMP should not have been making promises to her political masters about the release of information about the sort of weapons used by the shooter but more pointedly, the politicians shouldn’t have been asking for such promises about that or anything else.

The Mass Causality Commission has already exposed many shortcomings on the part of the RCMP.

The force’s politically charged relationship with the government is yet another fault, yet another reason to demand changes in the way the RCMP operates.

The arrogance laid bare by the Trudeau government’s apparent willingness to interfere, to capitalize on the timing of a tragedy for crass political advantage, also suggests it may also be time to change the government.

   

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