EDITORIAL – Are Canadians ready for Erin O’Toole’s social conservatism?

(Image: Facebook, Erin O’Toole)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

MP CATHY McLEOD is happy these days, and well she should be — her guy is the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP supported Erin O’Toole when he ran against Andrew Scheer in the last leadership election, and again after Scheer resigned. In a news release yesterday, she borrowed directly from his acceptance speech as she praised him as the right choice to “set a new course…  for a stronger, prosperous and more united Canada.”

O’Toole made his acceptance speech practically in the middle of the night after most of the country was in bed, thanks to a major screwup in the vote-counting technology.

It was a major embarrassment as the announcement of the results was delayed hour upon hour — not a good start to a fresh start for the party.

At any rate, O’Toole will have to act fast to get himself known to Canadians, since they barely know his name let alone his plans for the country if he becomes prime minister at some point.

The idea that he has new ideas about setting a new course is an interesting one since O’Toole is widely described as a social conservative, and his election at leader is seen as holding the party firmly on the right.

“Social conservative” is an interesting phrase. It sounds almost progressive, as in supportive of social policies. In fact, though, the true definition of a social conservative is someone who believes in the status quo and traditional values, who is uncomfortable with change when it comes to social issues.

His leadership platform could have been headlined “Make Canada Great Again,” promising law and order, protection of the oil economy, scrapping of the carbon tax and getting tough with China and Russia.

On the other hand, he has nothing to say about how the Conservatives would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic, though he belittles Justin Trudeau’s handling of it as “dithering.”

These things may be what Canadians want — only an election will tell.

As McLeod says, again borrowing a line from O’Toole, the world needs more Canada and “less Justin Trudeau.”

And, says McLeod, “I look forward to Canadians getting to know what Erin O’Toole has to offer.” Indeed, Canadians no doubt look forward to it as well.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9652 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – Are Canadians ready for Erin O’Toole’s social conservatism?

  1. Don Drysdale // August 25, 2020 at 9:57 AM // Reply

    So sick of this stereo typing people. I am a conservative, period not a social, progressive or any other type, just a conservative. Hey Mel are you an Elitist ,socialist or just a regular Liberal? By the way Pierre, O’Toole was a navigator on Sea King helicopters. I am also a ex military/veteran, does that make you cringe also?

    • In my opinion, the craziest waste of tax dollars the world over is the military. And that mentality is no hope for humanity.

    • And Don I want you to know I am actually looking forward to read his thoughts and hear his comments on the various matters pertinent to the nation. Thus far he is off to a pretty good start actually.

  2. “The world needs more of Canada and less of Justin Trudeau”? How about that as the “thoughtless” comment of the year? Considering her efforts at the local level, Canada will be “less-off” with these type of people in charge. I cringe to the idea of O’Toole, (an ex-military to boot, I read somewhere) as a prime minister.

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