In front of the fringe of the radical right present in its own ranks, the conservative leader Erin O’Toole swears to want to finally do the big cleaning. As a symbolic sacrifice, he therefore expels his MP Derek Sloan for accepting a donation of $ 131 from a white supremacist.
If Mr. O’Toole’s awakening had been quicker, one would surely be less tempted to doubt his real motives. This famous fringe has in fact resided in the Conservative Party of Canada (PCC) for years. Until now, including under Mr. O’Toole.
Not that Erin O’Toole himself is extreme right. He is not. Stephen Harper was not either. The problem is, these two men have never shied away from appealing to that same fringe for support.
If Erin O’Toole had categorically rejected the values and ideas of this faction early in the last Tory leadership campaign, there would be no need today for him to do so. This makes sense.
The fact is that this same radical fringe, a minority in the CCP, is no less influential. Erin O’Toole should have dealt with it long before the Jan.6 attempted coup on Capitol Hill, led by violent Trumpians.
Faced with this unprecedented event, obviously, Mr. O’Toole would especially not want his party to be closely or remotely associated with the Trumpian current.
Even less in a year which, at the federal level, looks very likely to be an election. Faced with the Liberals of Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole therefore tries to erase from the conservative slate its speckles of the far right.
“The Conservatives are a conventional, moderate and pragmatic party as old as Confederation, which is resolutely at the center of Canadian politics,” he said.
Also swearing that “there is no place for the extreme right in our party”, “racism, he insists, is a disease of the soul that will not be tolerated in the country or in the left “. Again, it is very little and it is very late.
From Christian fundamentalists to the pro-arms lobby, to those in the conservative base who dream of depriving women of their free choice to have an abortion, Erin O’Toole knows full well that her so-called “big household” will spare them for most.
Why ? Because among the traditional political parties, supporters of the radical right, including in Canada, are in constant search of a political “house” in which to deposit their penates.
At the federal level, the only favorable “home” for them is the CCP. There is no question for them to settle with the Liberals or the New Democrats. Such a “marriage” would definitely be unnatural.
Since the departure of Brian Mulroney, the real bullet in the foot of the Conservatives, he has been precisely there. In her race for leadership, Erin O’Toole could have shed it right away. He did not do it.
When the next federal election day comes, this is what many Canadian and Quebec voters are likely to remember.