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HomeNewsMP Aitchison hopes next Conservative Party leader brings unity

MP Aitchison hopes next Conservative Party leader brings unity

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Out is Erin O’Toole and in is Candice Bergen as Conservative Party leader, but only until a permanent leader is decided.

“I really appreciate the work Erin did and certainly the sacrifice that it takes to be the leader of the opposition,” Parry Sound-Muskoka’s MP Scott Aitchison says. “I think it takes a toll on you and on your family. It’s not an easy thing to do. I think he worked hard and I really appreciate the effort he made.”

The Conservative Party caucus voted 73 to 46 in favour of removing O’Toole as leader. Aitchison didn’t disclose how he voted, noting it was a secret ballot. 

“I think for the most part he did a pretty good job,” he says of O’Toole, adding the sacrifice he made to be leader should be noted. Aitchison adds that he’s glad O’Toole will continue on as the MP for Durham.

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In the short term, Candice Bergen, the MP for Portage-Lisgar, has been named as interim party leader. “She’s a very experienced parliamentarian,” Aitchison says. “I think she’ll lead us very well.”

It will be important for her, according to Aitchison, to make sure the party is in a good place for whoever becomes the next leader. “I think one of the most important things she’ll need to do as the interim leader is to start a bit of a healing process,” he says. “There’s no question there’s been a bit of division in our caucus. Some people have been very frustrated and got more and more vocal about it.”

He says there are “lots of ideas” from the caucus. “We’ve got to find the common ground that not just demonstrates to each other that we can work together but demonstrates to Canadians that we’re a government in waiting,” Aitchison says.

Aitchison didn’t say if there is anyone he hopes runs, instead saying he hopes for a race that includes “diverse viewpoints and ideas.”

It’s early, so no one has officially thrown their hat in the ring to become the next leader. When people do, don’t count on Aitchison as being one of them. “It’s probably a couple of years too early for me,” he says.

“It may happen one day, you never know,” he adds. “Stay tuned.”

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