Conservative leader Erin O’Toole recently unveiled his party’s environment platform to show that the Conservative Party has evolved on the climate change file.
By embracing the policies of the Liberals, New Democrats and the Greens, O’Toole is banking on the environment not being used as a hammer against him and his party during the next election campaign.
The shift in environment policy is one example of O’Toole’s moderation since he assumed the role of leader.
O’Toole sold himself as a “true blue” conservative in the 2020 leadership race. This was a slap at his main rival Peter MacKay who had been painted as an establishment figure who represented the ideals of downtown Toronto and not rural Canada.
O’Toole prevailed in the leadership race partly due to running as a conservative. His actions of late are anything but and it is starting to impact his support in the west.
Recent surveys rank O’Toole in last place for a positive impression of a federal leader and over the past few months his party has dropped by over five points in Alberta, a bastion of Conservative support.
In the last federal election every federal riding in Saskatchewan elected a Conservative Member of Parliament and in Alberta the Conservatives hold every riding with the exception of one lone NDP seat in Edmonton.
It should be noted that in 2019, many of those Conservative votes were against policies that Mr. O’Toole now advocates for.
O’Toole is weighing the odds that he can pick up support in Quebec and Ontario with his shift in policy while maintaining his western base of support.
It is a political gamble with the assumption that his western base has nowhere else to go. This could be the case, however if the base is not excited or motivated by O’Toole’s leadership they may choose to stay home on election day.
Image: Public Domain / Erin O’Toole Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/192052143@N06/51051366978/