New CPC leader should start by reaching out to party, Canadians, says local MP of Erin O’Toole

Barrie-Innisfil's John Brassard weighing in on new party leader

A Barrie area MP thinks his new party leader the right pick.

John Brassard, Barrie-Innisfil’s federal representative, was happy to see Erin O’Toole emerge as his party’s newest leader. Now that he’s finally able to weigh in, that is. “I had to remain neutral throughout this campaign because of my role on the leadership team,” Brassard told Barrie 360. “But I’m very, very pleased that Erin is the leader of the party.” Brassard was among the MPs appointed to his party’s leadership team in November of 2019, serving as deputy whip. He said he was asked by outgoing party leader Andrew Scheer to remain focused on parliament and not the leadership race.

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Now that a new leader has been voted in, Brassard says the way forward is clear. “I think the most important thing, anytime you get into a leadership race, there’s obviously divisions that occur. It’s a highly contested leadership race. I think the thing that Erin needs to do, and he said this last night in his victory speeches, is to reach out to caucus, reach out to the party,” Brassard told Barrie 360. “But more importantly put out a message to Canadians that there is a home in the Conservative Party for Canadians who are looking for a positive alternative and create this positive vision of what Canada can be.”

Some woke up to the news O’Toole got the vote with surprise, expecting to hear of a Peter McKay win instead. “Well, he was definitely the front runner in the beginning of the race. A lot of that had to do with name recognition,” said Brassard. “But I think when you look at the results, and I reviewed them briefly this morning, Erin certainly gained support across all regions of the country and, more specifically in Quebec. That seemed to be a real tipping point for Erin.”

The results came down about six hours after they were expected as a snag with some equipment meant some ballots required further review and, in some cases, tape. “There’s always going to be technical glitches,” said Brassard. “You know, the mail-in ballot system is one that’s been used before and there have been glitches before, but getting it right was the most critical thing and obviously the party did that it. It meant some suspense throughout the night. It meant that people had to wait.”

“At the end of the day, I think what everybody in the party wanted, including myself was to make sure that they got this right and that the ballots were counted right,” he added.