POLITICS
03/02/2020 16:46 EST | Updated 03/03/2020 15:33 EST

Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole Both Want To Force An Early Election

Both are promising to quickly move non-confidence motions.

The presumed front-runners for the Conservative leadership race are pledging to bring down Justin Trudeau’s government as quickly as possible.

Former cabinet minister Peter MacKay announced Monday he will push for an election this fall if he is elected the next Tory leader.

“Canadians have lost faith in this government,” MacKay tweeted Monday, with a graphic stating: “We need an October election.”

MacKay also released a fundraising email saying that a Tory caucus led by him would bring a motion of non-confidence to the House of Commons to defeat Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government “as soon as possible.” 

It is expected that Parliament will have risen for the summer by the time Tories elect their new leader on June 27 in Toronto.

MacKay cited Trudeau’s handling of the recent rail blockades in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to a natural gas pipeline running through their traditional territory in British Columbia. 

“With a strong and united party, we can with the election, and form a strong and united government,” reads the message attributed to MacKay. “A government that understands Canada, encourages investment, and helps people by creating the conditions for success. A government that can keep the trains running on time.”

The Canadian Press
Tory leadership hopefuls Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay are shown in a composite image of photos from The Canadian Press.

 

Durham MP Erin O’Toole told HuffPost Canada via email that he also wants an early election.

“Right now, I’m focused on speaking to our members directly, and ensuring our party is ready to offer Canadians the strong leadership our country is missing under Justin Trudeau,” O’Toole said. “His failure to lead is causing serious damage to Canada. As soon as I become leader, I will table a motion of no confidence in the government.”

Both men are following the lead of  leadership rival Marilyn Gladu. The Sarnia-Lambton MP said in a release last week that she would seek to convince other leaders to pull the plug on the Trudeau government in her “first act” if elected Tory chief.

Gladu made the announcement on the heels of Teck Resources Ltd.’s decision to scrap its application for a massive oilsands mining project, a decision she said amounted to “further proof that Trudeau cannot or will not fight for Canada and Canadian jobs.”

Gladu’s gambit was featured in a Liberal fundraising pitch last week.

We need to ensure that our movement stays ready for a campaign, whenever it may come,” Liberal Party national director Azam Ishmael told supporters.

In a minority Parliament, the Tories would need to convince other parties to get behind a vote of non-confidence. With 157 of the House’s 338 MPs, Liberals only need support from the NDP’s 24 MPs or Bloc Québécois’ 32 MPs to survive confidence votes. 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has previously suggested he is in no hurry for another campaign. He told reporters late last month it was “ridiculous” that the Tories put on notice a potential motion declaring the House had “lost confidence in the government.” 

Though the Tories did not move such a motion, the NDP leader said it made “no sense” to even mull such a move in the thick of the blockades issue gripping the country.

‘This isn’t about sending Canadians back to an election’: Singh

In a statement Monday, Singh said Conservatives want to make “hurtful cuts to public services” and help the wealthy.

“They haven’t learned that this isn’t about sending Canadians back to an election, but rather getting things done to help make their lives better,” Singh said.

“In the last election Canadians were clear: they wanted parties to work together to get things done for them. If the Liberals want to get things done for people, they can work with us to deliver. If they don’t, they can’t count on our support.”

With earlier files.