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Way to go, Erin!

george longley cartoon

(Cartoon by George Longley)

Our congratulations go out to local MP Erin O’Toole, who has now won the Conservative Party leadership, defeating fellow candidate and perceived frontrunner Peter MacKay and two others to lead the party into the next federal election.

He takes over the reins from Andrew Scheer, who resigned late last year as party leader after losing to the Liberals in the 2019 federal election. His resignation prompted the party leadership race.

O’Toole is a local boy who has made good. He was raised in Bowmanville and represents the riding of Durham in the House of Commons, first being elected to Parliament in a 2012 byelection and winning the riding again in the 2015 and 2019 general elections.

Politics runs deep in this family. Erin’s father, John O’Toole, was an MPP for the Durham riding in the Ontario Legislature from 1995 to 2014.

Erin and John became the first father and son to represent the same riding – one federally, the other provincially – at the same time. John ran and lost in a recent bid for mayor of Clarington.

Erin joined the Canadian Forces after graduating from Bowmanville High School and graduated from the Royal Military College in Kingston in 1995. He flew search-and-rescue helicopters based out of Trenton and Winnipeg. He later graduated from law school at Dalhousie University in Halifax, where he met his wife, and after some years of practicing law, he ran for politics. He and his wife, Rebecca, have two young children.

You will be learning a lot about this local politician in the coming months as he steps onto the national stage, especially with a showdown this fall with the governing Liberals, who have indicated they will prompt a confidence motion in the House of Commons in September that may result in the government’s defeat and a federal election.

Best wishes to Erin O’Toole, who has worked hard up to this point, with some really heavy lifting coming in the months ahead.