Canadian Tories Sack Moderate Leader O’Toole, Elect Firebrand Pro-Trucker Bergen

Candice Bergen Question Period / Période des questions Ottawa, ONTARIO, on December 10th, 2020. © HOC-CDC Credit: Bernard Thibodeau, House of Commons Photo Services
Bernard Thibodeau, House of Commons Photo Services

Canadian Conservative Party (CPC) members of parliament voted to sack moderate Erin O’Toole as party leader and have voted firebrand Candice Bergen as interim leader as anti-vaccine mandate trucker protests continue.

On Wednesday 73 of the 118 members of the Conservative Party of Canada caucus in the Canadian House of Commons voted to remove moderate Erin O’Toole as leader of the Candian Tories after an 18-month reign as leader of the party and a failed bid to win a general election against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau last year.

O’Toole stated that he accepted the result of the vote, a rare occurrence for a Canadian party leader, and stated the next leader of the party must “recognize that our country is divided and people are worried,” broadcaster CBC reports.

“I pledge my support and unwavering loyalty to our next leader and I urge everyone in our party to come together and do the same,” he added.

O’Toole lost much support within his own grassroots base over the last 18 months after making stances on various issues, such as backing an “assault weapons” ban enacted by the Trudeau government in 2020 which bans various semi-automatic rifles.

The ban had been criticised by some who have pointed out that the majority of gun crime in areas like Toronto is carried out by illegally acquired and possessed pistols, rather than so-called “assault rifles.”

O’Toole also backed Wuhan coronavirus passports and stated in September of last year that he wanted to see the Canadian federal government create a national system to prove residents had been vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus.

The revolt against O’Toole’s leadership came to a head in the last few days as the Freedom Convoy truckers entered Canada’s capital Ottawa.

Initially, O’Toole was hesitant regarding the convoy, which seeks to end vaccine mandates for cross-border trade between the United States and Canada for truckers, as well as to end Wuhan coronavirus restrictions across the country. He eventually agreed last week to meet with some of the protesters.

On Wednesday evening, the CPC voted for firebrand Candice Bergen, former Deputy Leader of the party, to be the new interim leader of the CPC before members vote on a new permanent leader.

Bergen has been one of the most vocal supporters of the Freedom Convoy protestors, hitting back against allegations made by Prime Minister Trudeau that the protest was full of a hateful “fringe minority.”

“The small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, who are holding unacceptable views that they are expressing, do not represent the views of Canadians,” Trudeau said.

Bergen, meanwhile, defended the protestors in the House of Commons on Monday saying, “Contrary to some, there are thousands of passionate, patriotic, and peaceful Canadians on the Hill right now, who just want to be heard.”

“All Canadians want to see a leader who will work to heal rifts… not dismiss, name-call and gaslight,” Bergen said in response to comments from Prime Minister Trudeau.

“We all condemn hateful and destructive acts by a few, at any protest,” Bergen said and added, “Whether it’s beheading the statue of Queen Victoria in Manitoba… whether it’s burning churches, whether it’s wearing blackface, whether it’s Hezbollah flags or Nazi flags, we all condemn this. But I’m not talking about that.”

Last year, Bergen was also in the sights of Canadian media after a photograph of her emerged wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat but did not comment on questions regarding the photograph from Canadian media.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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