Erin O’Toole wins Conservative leadership – but will Conservatives accept the result?

The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) was set to be announced yesterday August 23rd, at 6 p.m., however, 10 minutes before 6 p.m., a delay was announced. There was an issue with the machine that opens the ballots, it was ripping them.

Various conservative officials came out to explain what was going on. It was explained to the viewer that each candidate had scrutineers at each table, overseeing the ripped ballots that were then re-written in the presence of each teams scrutineers, before being placed into the machine to count the vote. This is bad optics for party with a track record of issues when it comes to transparency in their process of selecting their leaders.

Remember the missing ballots from the last Conservative leadership race? After it was announced Andrew Scheer had become the leader of the CPC by a very narrow margin of victory (Scheer- 50.95% Bernier- 49.05%) Maxime Bernier called on the party to explain how there were 7466 more ballots cast than there were members registered to vote in the race. Deloitte, the company hired to do the oversight, did not perform any of the certification of the results like they were hired to do. “It is common to have an accounting firm certify the results, and I know that [Deloitte] specifically did not do that,” said Mr. Dechert, a lawyer who supervised the voting process as Ms. Leitch’s main counsel during the race three years ago.

So what happened to all of the ballots? Were they verified and recounted to ensure an accurate and fair race? Absolutely not – the ballots were ordered to be destroyed by David Filmon the CPC’s Chief returning officer, and scrutineers were not informed that the ballots would be shredded. The party explained to their base what happened that night, responding that volunteers had many ballots to sort through in a short time and that the discrepancy is due to the fact the names of about 3,000 people who voted at 13 polling stations outside of Toronto weren’t entered into the party’s database and therefore weren’t included.

This is concerning to say the least, because in any close race, it is customary to recount ballots and ensure a fair and accurate outcome. So why immediately destroy the evidence that would vindicate your party of any wrong-doing? Why were the ballots destroyed with extremely curious timing? Insert the 2020 Conservative Leadership Race. A race where due to the COVID-19 “pandemic”, mail in voting replaced in person voting.

In order to take away the public perception of malfeasance, the Conservative Party announced they would put a 24/7 live camera inside of the ballot vault for the public to monitor the vote counting in real time. Only one issue — on the day to announce the new leader and count the ballots — the link was offline!

Diverge Media attempted to watch the vault live-stream from 11 a.m., to about 5 p.m., refreshing the link every hour. At which time, the stream of the ballot room was replaced with the CPC’s coverage of the event. This doesn’t mean any wrongdoing was committed by the party, however for a party trying to present a clean image to the public — this isn’t helping their cause.

Many Conservative member’s in this leadership race were dead set on their candidate becoming leader of the party. What happen’s to all of Leslyn Lewis’ and Derek Sloan’s supporters? Will the members who voted for them be brought into the Conservative fold? Or will their supporters go and try to find solace in the People’s Party Of Canada (PPC)?

This is the challenge laid out before Erin O’Toole — to unite the grassroots conservative’s who feel abandoned by the policies of the CPC. To bring back the PPC supporters and the Sloan and Lewis supporters is the mountain before O’Toole and the CPC that needs to be climbed. However, with many questions still lingering around the election of Andrew Scheer (destroyed ballots and roughly 7000 extra ballots cast), will Conservative members be willing to accept the results from this race? A race where the camera meant to provide oversight and accountability during the vote counting process was not on for a large portion of the day (11 a.m., to 5 p.m., E.S.T).

If Mr. O’Toole wants to unite Conservative’s, the challenge will be formidable. However, defunding the CBC as he promised during his campaign will likely go a long way in starting that process.

Another way for O’Toole to win over PPC supporters and members who voted for Sloan?

Follow through on your campaign’s foreign policy ideas, and force reform through the United Nations (UN). A big sticking point for many supporters of the PPC and Derek Sloan was Canada’s relationship with the UN. Derek Sloan said he would pull Canada from the UN’s UNDRIP agreement. Many Canadian’s don’t like having un-elected bureaucrats influence political decisions being made here in Canada — especially when many of the countries that sit on the Human Right’s council are the biggest human rights abusers themselves! Do you feel comfortable having Venezuela, The Republic of Korea, or a country like Qatar, a nation known to have shady labour laws, being on the human rights council?

Regardless of what O’Toole and the CPC decide to do, they must do it with great caution. They must be careful as not alienate the supporters of candidates like Sloan and Lewis, for if they do, we could see a repeat of 2019 election all over again — and that is not a result Canada can afford.

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Published by Greg Staley

Greg Staley is a husband and a father to 4 beautiful girls. He is the owner of Diverge Media and takes pride in telling the stories that matter - even if they may be unpopular. In addition to writing, editing, and producing videos and articles for Diverge, Mr. Staley also works full-time on a farm. Mr. Staley is working hard to be able to pursue Diverge Media full-time and wholeheartedly believes that it will become a reality in the near-future with the support of the readers/viewers of Diverge Media.