Michel Gauthier speaks about the ousting of Erin O’Toole
Article published on 7 February 2022
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The candidate for the Conservative Party in the most recent election, Michel Gauthier, spoke with CHIP 101.9 about the future of the party. Conservative MPs voted to remove Erin O’Toole as head of the party on February 2, roughly 18 months after he won the leadership. Manitoba MP Candice Bergen has assumed the position of interim leader until another contest can be held.

Gauthier said he understands and even supports the decision of members of the Conservative caucus who made the decision to replace O’Toole, but admitted that it will not be easy to find a future leader who can gain Canadian’s trust while ensuring internal cohesion.

“Unfortunately, I must admit that I was really dissatisfied with the way in which he conducted his election campaign,” he said (tr.). “Nevertheless, Mr. O’Toole is still dedicated to the country, dedicated to his party and that, you have to tip your hat. Well, now we have to move on, and it won’t be easy. There are quite divergent factions in the party. I remember saying the day after the election that we could not afford a family feud within the party but at the same time, it would not be with Mr. O’Toole that we would win the next election. So now, the challenge before us is to conduct a new leadership race without falling into major family disputes. And, I must admit that yes, it will be a challenge.”

Like Pontiac’s Conservative candidate in the 2019 election, Dave Blackburn, Gauthier would like to see a Quebecer leading the party to ensure the success of the Conservatives in future elections.

“Well, I think the time has come, indeed, to have a leader of the Conservative Party from Quebec, but it is not an obligation,” he said (tr.). “The important thing is to have a perfectly bilingual leader, a leader capable of showing leadership, not only as party leader, but as head of government. This person must also be perfectly bilingual as I said. But, it is known, as a Quebecer, as a francophone, I will look favorably on a Quebec candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party. I mean, people like Brian Mulroney allowed the party to win a resounding victory, even two resounding victories and that could allow us, perhaps, to better establish the link between the membership of Quebec and the membership of Western Canada.”

Gauthier also spoke about the truckers congregating in downtown Ottawa. He believes it’s time to end the gathering.

“Everyone has the right to demonstrate and express their opinion, even the anti-vax. But what is happening in Ottawa goes far beyond the right to protest,“he said (tr.).”The truckers involved in this movement have clearly expressed their point of view. This is the very essence of freedom of opinion. But when you want to impose on everyone the expression of this opinion, it becomes intimidation and it is unacceptable. It is now time, as MP Pierre Paul-Hus pointed out, to put an end to this ’occupation controlled by radicals and anarchist groups.’"

The full (French-language) interview with Gauthier is available here.

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