O'Toole says election review shows he was 'too scripted,' TV studio proved unsuccessful
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says among the findings of a new report highlighting the party’s 2021 election campaign missteps, was that he was “too scripted” in the final days and communicating with voters stationed in a TV studio proved ineffective.
The Conservative caucus was briefed Thursday on the review, which was led by former Alberta MP James Cumming.
According to Cumming, it looked at everything from party infrastructure to the leader’s performance. More than 400 people were interviewed, including candidates, campaign managers, electoral district associations, party members, activists, and others.
“[The] review of what went right, what went wrong and its recommendations – some of those relate to me. Leadership starts at the top. There were areas I fell short, including especially in the last 10 days,” said O’Toole.
“I got comments that in the last week of the campaign, I seemed too scripted.”
O’Toole leaned heavily into communicating with voters virtually throughout the five-week period, taking questions and delivering announcements from the studio set up in Ottawa where he hosted 17 ‘teletownhalls.’
“The studio cut me off from meeting more Canadians. We were told that we should have been doing more events,” he said.
“I want to get out there and meet more Canadians in person not in a studio and not on Zoom, so I’m as frustrated as so many Canadians working from home, working virtually.”
The Conservatives failed to increase their seat count in 2021 and lost votes in key western ridings where support is usually steady. That dip in popularity was attributed, in part, to the rise in traction of the People’s Party of Canada and diverted efforts to try to win over voters in urban centres.
A source with direct knowledge of the review told CTV News earlier in the day that the need to recruit more diverse candidates was listed as a priority, as well as more effective outreach to ethnic communities.
“The party needs to do a better job communicating with communities in their first language and using platforms and mediums that those communities use, in culturally appropriate ways,” the source said.
The source also said infighting during two leadership races in less than five years has resulted in a loss of trust among voters.
“[Voters] can’t trust a political party to govern if they can’t govern themselves and voters are worried that this infighting can lead to key policy shifts on the economy, and social issues,” the source said.
O’Toole said there is a commitment to make changes to reflect the concerns listed.
“The intention here is to make changes. Myself as leader, I’m responsible for the loss and I want to make sure that we gain the confidence of more Canadians so I will make changes myself, to our team, to our strategy, and within our party and our MPs and our entire party structure will be part of that change,” he said.
Cumming told CTV News Channel’s Power Play on Thursday that going forward the party has to be firm in its stance on more polarizing issues such as a price on carbon.
“The party’s got to be decisive, has to be very clear on what they stand for, and what the vision is for the future,” he said.
Asked whether O’Toole is included in that vision, based on the sentiment of the report, Cumming said a large majority of participants were “supportive” of his performance in the campaign but “not entirely happy with the result.”
The release of the report comes at a time when O’Toole faces challenges to his leadership, including calls from three electoral district associations to hold an early vote on who should lead the party through the next election.
MORE POLITICS NEWS
'Anger that I haven't seen before': Singh harassment incident puts renewed spotlight on politicians' security
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's recent encounter with protesters at an Ontario election campaign stop, where he was verbally harassed, is casting a renewed spotlight on politicians' security, with Singh telling CTV News that he's witnessing a level of anger he hasn't seen before.
The stunning leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights seized political attention in Ottawa on Tuesday. In the House of Commons, MPs' persisting differing views were on display after a symbolic push to affirm abortion rights failed, and the Conservative caucus were told not to comment on the leak.
Six candidates are officially on the ballot to become the Conservative Party's next leader. In holding rallies, appearing in media interviews, and preparing for the soon-approaching party debates, each contender has started to trickle out details of their platforms. Here's a snapshot of where the candidates stand on the economy, housing, climate, defence and social issues.
The federal Liberals and New Democrats have finalized an agreement that, if maintained, would keep Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government in power until June 2025, in exchange for progress on longstanding NDP priorities. Trudeau announced Tuesday morning that the confidence-and-supply agreement has been brokered, and is effective immediately.
Conservative Party members will be electing their new leader in September. Six candidates have secured their place on the ballot, after meeting all of the party's eligibility requirements. Here's a snapshot of who each candidate is, their political histories, and what kind of campaign they're running.
OPINION | Don Martin: Ford on cruise control to victory in Ontario while Alberta votes on killing Kenney as UCP leader
It's becoming a make-or-break week for two Conservative premiers as their futures pivot on a pair of defining moments, writes Don Martin in an exclusive opinion column for CTVNews.ca.
In an exclusive column for CTVNews.ca, Don Martin weighs in on the Conservative leadership debate highlights and fumbles in Edmonton on Wednesday night.
As was the case with the Freedom Convoy, it’s the organizers of Rolling Thunder who are giving the event's modest purpose some ominous overtones, writes Don Martin in an exclusive opinion piece for CTVNews.ca.
OPINION | Don Martin: In the heart of Liberal-owned Toronto, an unlikely Conservative rock star takes the stage
Conservative leadership frontrunner Pierre Poilievre is attracting big crowds to large halls in unlikely locations. And if his early romp lasts, he'll be impossible to beat, writes Don Martin in an exclusive opinion column for CTVNews.ca.
OPINION | Don Martin: The personal antipathy between Charest and Poilievre is damaging the Conservatives beyond repair
The sorry state of the race to become Canada’s Official Opposition Leader, traditionally a launch pad to the prime minister’s title, is antagonistically personal to a level I’ve never seen before, writes Don Martin in an exclusive opinion column for CTVNews.ca.
ANALYSIS & INSIGHTS
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Jason Kenney quit as leader of his party, and premier of Alberta, Wednesday night after receiving a slight majority of support in his United Conservative Party leadership review.
Ed Fast is no longer the Conservative finance critic, interim party leader Candice Bergen says. Bergen said in a statement late Wednesday that Fast informed her he will be 'stepping away from his duties.'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is watching 'carefully' how Quebec's Bill 96 is playing out provincially and respects the freedom of members of Parliament to protest it.
With Statistics Canada reporting a 9.7 per cent increase in food costs over the last year, Canadians are being pushed to find ways to pinch pennies at the grocery stores. Here are some ways to save.
Crown prosecutors want Ottawa protest organizer Tamara Lich sent back to jail to await trial, claiming she breached her bail conditions by agreeing to participate in an event next month where she will receive a 'Freedom Award.'
As Johnny Depp's defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard stretches into its fifth week, experts say public reaction to Heard's testimony sends a perilous reminder that despite the 'MeToo' movement, the credibility of alleged victims of abuse can be fragile.
Provincial police announced Wednesday the human remains found in the water in Dunnville, Ont., the day before are that of a young girl.
The Conservative Party of Canada is investigating a complaint lodged by Patrick Brown's leadership campaign about a racist email it says it received from a member.
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, lit candles and listened to a prayer service on Wednesday inside a gilded Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral in Ottawa, while congregants and onlookers waved blue-and-yellow flags and Union Jacks outside.
Etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau answers your questions about how to address the royal couple, how to dress if you're meeting them, and whether or not you can ask for a selfie.
Manitoba is bracing for more rain as it works to repair multiple bridges that were seriously damaged in flash floods over the weekend.
A Mountie who led much of the response to the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting testified Wednesday that spotty radio service and the lack of an RCMP helicopter were among the equipment problems that hampered the manhunt.
A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd, admitting that he intentionally helped restrain the Black man in a way that created an unreasonable risk and caused his death.
New York would require state police to seek court orders to keep guns away from people who might pose a threat to themselves or others under a package of executive orders and gun control bills touted Wednesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul in the aftermath of a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket.
A U.K. Conservative lawmaker was released on bail Wednesday while police investigate allegations of rape and sexual assault against him, the latest in a series of sexual misconduct allegations that have led some to label Britain's Parliament a toxic workplace.
A senior Taliban official has repeated the group's as-yet-unfulfilled pledge to allow girls back into high school, saying there would be "good news soon," but suggested that women who protested the regime's restrictions on women rights should stay home.
Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday that while he voted for Democrats in the past, he will now vote for Republicans.
Black box data recovered from a China Eastern flight that crashed in March suggests someone in the cockpit intentionally downed the plane, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a preliminary assessment from United States officials.
A judge on Tuesday suspended Michigan's dormant, decades-old ban on abortion, which means the procedure would not be illegal in the state even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its historic Roe v. Wade decision.
A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Tennessee's first-of-its-kind law requiring businesses to post special signs if they allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.
A new study out of the United Kingdom has found that women are almost twice as likely as men to be trapped in a vehicle after a crash.
A NASA spacecraft on Mars is headed for a dusty demise.
Even though it is spring, some Manitobans were in for a cool surprise over the weekend as ice piled up on the shore of Lake Winnipeg, creating what looked like giant hills of ice.
She has four limbs, expressive eyes and likes to stroll through greenery in New York City. Happy, by species, is an Asian elephant. But is she also a person? That's the question before New York's highest court Wednesday.
A friend of actor Amber Heard testified Wednesday that she saw the bruises and cuts left in the aftermath of multiple incidents of abuse inflicted by Heard's ex-husband, Johnny Depp.
Taylor Swift received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from New York University on Wednesday, blowing kisses as the crowd roared when she walked toward the stage at a packed Yankee Stadium.
Stocks fell sharply in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday, led by led by steep drops in retailers as Target plunged after issuing a grim quarterly earnings report.
One of Canada's largest supermarket chains is taking a small but meaningful step to signal its support for Ukraine as the country defends itself against Russia's invasion.
The cost of nearly everything at the grocery store continued to climb higher to push the annual inflation rate up in April.
Yumi Nu’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover, Jordan Peterson comments spark body acceptance conversation
Advocates are standing up for body acceptance after the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover was met with hate comments for featuring plus-sized model Yumi Nu.
A Quebec teen has broken a national record for the fastest time to solve a Rubik's cube while wearing a blindfold.
A retiree in Ontario has just purchased what is being called the 'cheapest home in the GTA'—a caboose located on a commercially zoned parking lot near Milton.
The U.S. Soccer Federation reached milestone agreements to pay its men's and women's teams equally, making the American national governing body the first in the sport to promise both sexes matching money.
Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner is speaking for the first time since he was robbed of his Range Rover at gunpoint outside of a Toronto movie theatre earlier this week.
An accident with a prosecco cork while celebrating his historic stage victory at the Giro d'Italia forced Biniam Girmay to pull out of the race on Wednesday.
Nearly 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, the highest number in 16 years as Americans returned to the highways after the pandemic forced many to stay at home.
Tuesday was another record-breaking day for gas prices in Nova Scotia after they jumped by 9.5 cents overnight -- just four days after they had reached $2 per litre in some parts of the province.