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Conservative senator launches petition to oust Erin O’Toole as leader

Conservative Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters has launched a petition to oust Erin O’Toole as party leader — a high-profile effort by a caucus member who said she lost faith in O’Toole after the Conservative Party suffered “significant losses” in the last campaign.

In announcing her petition, Batters said that on O’Toole’s watch, the party has flip-flopped on major issues such as carbon pricingfirearms and conscience rights and has lost once-Conservative seats in urban and suburban ridings in Alberta, B.C. and the Greater Toronto Area.

While O’Toole campaigned as a “true blue” Conservative in the party’s leadership race, Batters said he subsequently ran a federal election campaign “nearly indistinguishable from Trudeau’s Liberals.”

She said these developments demand a leadership review well before the planned vote at the 2023 Conservative convention. As per the party rules, there’s an automatic leadership review at the first national convention following a failed federal election campaign — but Batters instead wants that vote to happen in the next six months.