Erin O'Toole is the Member of Parliament for Durham (Conservative) and the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Canadian Parliament. He was first elected in a 2012 by-election and re-elected in 2015. He previously served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and in cabinet as Minister of Veterans Affairs. Mr. O’Toole brings a unique set of experiences to his role in Parliament. A graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada, he served a total of twelve years in the Canadian Armed Forces and several years flying on the Sea King helicopter as a tactical navigator in support of Royal Canadian Navy operations in Canada and abroad. He transferred to the reserves and attended law school at Dalhousie University, following which, he worked as a corporate lawyer in Toronto at two national law firms and as in-house counsel for a large consumer goods company and the largest private sector employer in Eastern Ontario. After he left the military and began his corporate career, Mr. O’Toole also devoted a large portion of his time to causes he was passionate about. He was one of the founders of the True Patriot Love Foundation, which has raised awareness and significant funds for programs supporting members of the military, veterans and their families. True Patriot Love recently brought the Invictus Games to Canada, an initiative Mr. O’Toole championed as Minister. He was also a director of the Vimy Foundation and the non-partisan Churchill Society, which promoted public awareness and education about Canadian history and our parliamentary democracy respectively. A Rotarian and member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Erin has been proud to lead and follow others on a series of charitable and non-profit initiatives to help build his community and country. For this work he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Young Alumnus Award from Dalhousie University. He met his wife Rebecca while serving in Nova Scotia and together they are raising two children and one spunky yellow Labrador retriever.
Motion 103 did not come from a genuine desire to have a serious debate on discrimination in the House of Commons. The origin of Motion 103 is found in the e-Petition on which it is based. This seems to have been missed by many observers who think this motion was brought after the terrible attack on the mosque in Quebec.
We cannot allow indifference or silence to normalize the language of intolerance in political discourse. I, for one, do not want the next generation of politicians to have to apologize for injustices that I have the ability to prevent.
01/31/2017 06:15 EST
On January 23rd, I learned that a good friend had taken his own life the day before. The news of his suicide quickly overwhelmed our group of friends with feelings of deep sadness and confusion. We engaged in the heartbreaking exercise of wondering what we had missed and whether we had failed our friend.
01/25/2017 10:40 EST
Will Canada's Parliament see more regional or secessionist parties under proportional representation? Will we see more single-issue parties based on social or cultural issues? Will a move to PR virtually guarantee that the Bloc Québécois never fades away like single-issue parties of the past? Under a PR electoral system the answer is "likely yes" to all of these questions.
08/30/2016 09:29 EDT
Simply put, the Liberals want a different result this time around. Ontario voted down a change to the electoral system (as did British Columbia and PEI), and the Liberals do not want to give Canadians the chance to say no again. Canadians deserve to hear from Mendelsohn and Butts in this debate. They need to explain why they are not adhering to the same open and fulsome process they created for Ontario. They need to explain why they gave Ontarians a vote in 2007, but are not giving Canadians a vote today.
08/15/2016 05:27 EDT
After watching this issue unfold in Ottawa, I firmly believe that this exercise is motivated by calculated political advantage to the Liberals dressed up as democratic reform. I wish I didn't have to be so cynical in my assessment, but this exercise is premised upon fixing a problem that doesn't exist. Rather than improve our system, this exercise plays on inherent frustrations with politics and could ultimately be detrimental to our parliamentary democracy and even national unity.
08/05/2016 09:02 EDT
I always liked David Cameron. Maybe it was because we're both fans of the rock band, The Smiths, but also (and more importantly) because he tried to use the privileged position of prime minister to appeal to the better angels in our nature with the "Big Society" initiative of his early government. The Big Society ideal was first referenced by Cameron in 2009. In a nutshell, the Big Society philosophy recognizes that a country and its communities are built as much by passionate volunteers, community groups and service organizations as it is by departments of the government.
07/18/2016 04:11 EDT
Despite building this tremendous education infrastructure to allow our young Canadian minds to be the best in the world, it is often a timid or risk averse culture within governments and corporate Canada that can hold Canada back from realizing its full potential.
07/08/2016 11:56 EDT
After only seven months in office, this new government believes they have the right to unilaterally rewrite or recast the heritage they inherited. Even more troubling is the way they are framing the debate about the change to our anthem.
06/10/2016 04:06 EDT
If all MPs and all Canadians approach these subjects with respect, we can all feel better about the outcome whether you support Bill C-14 or not. I have been part of a few interviews and discussions with MPs on the issue of assisted suicide and got to know my colleagues across the aisle and understand their motivations better. This is passion and Parliament at its best. Sadly, last week also saw Parliament at its worst when the prime minister of Canada allowed his passion to get the better of him and he stormed across the aisle to yell at, and engaged in a scuffle with opposition MPs.
05/23/2016 09:15 EDT
The Conservative government's approach to countering the Islamic State (ISIS) threat was a three-pillared plan that combined allied military action, alongside direct foreign aid, and support for refugees and the dislocated in the region. In many ways, the plan brought to the last Parliament by the Conservatives was consistent with the Pearsonian worldview that Canada has a duty to take collective action with our friends to advance liberty for others and provide security at home.
02/09/2016 05:37 EST
The role of the Canadian government in both the short and long term should be to embrace and foster the growth of all parts of our diverse economy. The government should certainly not champion some sectors and demoralize others. Sadly, we have already started to see that approach by the Trudeau government.
01/28/2016 05:38 EST
Sunny ways leadership is about setting priorities and convincing citizens about the need for these priorities to ensure we have a bright future. It is about being honest with people and at times making difficult choices and explaining why you have to make them. Being all things to all people is not sunny ways leadership, nor is simply doubling or adding a zero to the investments of your predecessor. That appears to be the central hallmark of the new government. Spending is already wildly out of control.
12/15/2015 05:10 EST
The day after winning the election, Prime Minister Trudeau proclaimed to the world that 35 million Canadians were now "back" and the team behind him seemed to revel in that line. Such a bold claim within hours of an election win deserves some scrutiny to find out where Canada had been if we were now back.
11/27/2015 05:33 EST
Most veterans joined the Forces between the ages of 18 and 22 and serve a large portion of their adult lives in uniform. When they leave the military, they are leaving behind comrades who continue to serve Canada, so it is a priority for them to see that the military has the equipment and support it needs. Probably the largest reason why many veterans support the Conservative Party is because they have seen both the equipment and morale improve dramatically under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The last Liberal government hollowed out the military during the "Decade of Darkness." From used submarines to the dated green uniforms for Afghanistan, the Liberals did not make a properly equipped military a priority.
09/15/2015 12:16 EDT
A 90-year-old veteran, Art Boon, was not permitted to have his son serve as a caregiver travel companion for the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. The Avon Maitland District School Board would not grant the son's request for unpaid leave to travel with his father. What is most perplexing about this story is the fact that Mr. Boon's son is a history teacher. I truly hope that the Avon Maitland District School Board recognizes that public concern is based out of genuine concern for a 90-year-old veteran who deserves to be heard.
05/01/2015 08:44 EDT
Several weeks ago, when I learned about the potential requirement for a veteran who has lost a limb to have to continually verify their injury I asked for this to be examined to ensure such a procedure never takes place. To date, my department is ensuring that this is not a requirement from a VAC administration requirement and we are determined to work with third party insurance providers to ensure that such requirements are not part of the process facing the veteran either.
02/06/2015 05:56 EST
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