Does Erin O’Toole’s surge signal the return of Red Toryism?


While he cynically positioned himself as a “true blue” conservative in his successful bid for the Conservative Party’s leadership in 2020, O’Toole immediately pivoted to embrace a strain of “progressive conservatism” we have not witnessed on the federal scene since 2003 when the old PC Party merged with the Reform/Canadian Alliance Party to form the Conservative Party of Canada. On the night he unexpectedly won his party’s leadership, O’Toole stunned political observers in his victory speech when he made a direct appeal to Indigenous, LGBTQ, and racialized Canadians to see themselves reflected in his party. O’Toole’s speech that night was remarkable because it was one that would have never been delivered by either of his predecessors, Andrew Scheer and Stephen Harper.

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