Sunday August 23, 2020 | NATIONAL
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
After a multi-hour delay in reporting the ballots, the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) is Erin O’Toole. He won on the third ballot with 19,271 points in the leadership counting process (exceeding the 16,901 required to win).
There were four candidates in the leadership race of 2020: Leslyn Lewis, Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole, and Derek Sloan.
Tallying the party membership votes:
Under the CPC framework, each of 338 ridings across Canada had 100 points attached to a tallying system, for a total of 338,000 points to be distributed. The winner needed to achieve 16,901 (50 percent plus one).
On the first ballot (announced around 9:20 pm PDT), MacKay pulled into the lead with 11,328.55 points which was short of an immediate win. O’Toole came in second with 10,681.40 points. Lewis earned 6,925.38. Sloan was dropped off for having the lowest number of points. At that point, any of the top three contenders could have still emerged the ultimate winner.
Some notable results in the first ballot included first-time contender (with no political experience) Lewis coming out on top in Saskatchewan — beating both McKay and O’Toole in the mid-west.
O’Toole won Quebec, probably because his French is stronger than MacKay’s (as well as already being a Member of Parliament in the current government). Lewis does not speak French.
O’Toole’s strategy became evident. He will have hoped to be second on the first ballot, which means the results from the third contender would in large part tip to him, pushing him into first place.
Social conservatives (people holding actively right wing views on issues like a women’s right to choose, and LGBT rights) are spread across the country as seen in tonight’s first ballot results. Both Lewis and Sloan openly leaned to the right on social issues during their campaigns.
Lewis will have been helped by the current push of the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020. Based on tonight’s results where she showed strength among CPC members across the country, she is the new star in the Conservative Party of Canada. She outperformed on fundraising, votes and points. She will almost certainly be given some new opportunities within the party.
O’Toole held to a true-blue conservative campaign, which apparently maintained his strength to a positive end-result.
MacKay held strength in BC results on the first ballot, with the top points count, but O’Toole came a very close second. In Ontario McKay took the lead but did not leave the others in the dust.
A reflection on the party:
In political circles this leadership race was MacKay’s to win; he’s been in politics a long time and embraced socially progressive ideas. His loss is possibly in large part a reflection of the CPC membership not wanting a progressive conservative direction in their party.
The second ballot results:
Every ballot sent in by members allowed for four choices in order of preference. The second-choice picks usually have a huge impact after the first ballot.
On the second ballot, the winner was O’Toole (11,903 points), with MacKay coming in second (11,756 points). Lewis was dropped off the ballot at that point (10,140 points).
MacKay’s loss is probably also a result of a sense of entitlement… he’s been in high profile party politics since 2003, at which time he handed over the leadership of a merged party to Stephen Harper. MacKay probably believed in a future where he would be the leader if not prime minister.
Emerging with a dialogue:
During the Conservative leadership campaign, there was very little mention of how the COVID-19 pandemic might have been handled differently. The party historically uses Trudeau-bashing like a mantra. For the party’s hopes to overcome the Liberals in the next federal election they will need to have a vision that elevates them to a national stature.
As a current MP, O’Toole is already in the House of Commons and will have the opportunity to lead his party with a high profile out of Ottawa.