O’Toole Snubs British Columbia … Again and Again!

The Conservative Party’s new leader Erin O’Toole hasn’t shown much respect for British Columbia.

In fact, O’Toole has been downright insulting!!

On the night O’Toole was elected as the party’s new leader, he didn’t mention BC in his acceptance speech.

Despite the VERY late hour, he had enough time to reach out to Quebeckers three times in his remarks, pointed to Ontario’s importance, and included the Maritimes and Alberta in his honourable mentions.

Not a word to British Columbians, Canada’s third most populous province and home of the country’s third largest city.

Not a word.

The following day, O’Toole was on the phone introducing himself to various Premiers, including Alberta and Saskatchewan and announced to reporters, Quebec was so important to him, Premier Francois Legault will be getting a personal visit, not just a phone call.

But judging by every piece of coverage I saw that Monday (actually searched for it) there was NO call that day to BC Premier John Horgan.

They probably did speak … a day or two later … but BC was SNUBBED … not a priority.

Sure seemed insulting to me: second class treatment from the new Conservative Leader for the province that could hold the key to which party forms government in the next election.

A typical Eastern politician I thought: O’Toole is Montreal born, and after serving in the Canadian military mostly in the Maritimes, became a Toronto Bay Street lawyer and now serves as an Ontario MP.

His first Senior staff appointments a few days later confirmed my worst impressions.

O’Toole’s five key Senior staff positions, … hugely important in gate-keeping and helping the Leader focus his direction and priorities … ALL went to politically experienced and professionally connected Easterners: three Ontarians, one Quebecker and one Nova Scotian.

Not one from BC!

Getting the picture of where YOU stand in the Conservative Leader’s “new” vision?

Not yet? Well, perhaps O’Toole’s announcement Tuesday of his Shadow Cabinet will help.

From the Conservative Party’s own website, here is his full “House of Commons Leadership Team”:

  • Deputy Leader: Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage – Lisgar, Manitoba)
  • Quebec Political Lieutenant: Richard Martel (Chicoutimi – Le Fjord, Quebec)
  • House Leader of the Official Opposition: Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, Quebec)
  • Chief Opposition Whip: Blake Richards (Banff – Airdrie, Alberta)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition: Karen Vecchio (Elgin – Middlesex – London, Ontario)
  • Deputy Opposition Whip: Alex Ruff (Bruce – Grey – Owen Sound, Ontario)
  • Caucus-Party Liaison: Hon. Tim Uppal (Edmonton Mill Woods, Alberta)
  • Question Period Coordinator: Eric Duncan (Stormont – Dundas – South Glengarry, Ontario)
  • National Caucus Chair: Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard, Alberta)

Again, in O’Toole’s view, not a single British Columbian is worthy of being a “Leader”!

Perhaps we can hope that one or some of them have at some point VISITED our province? Or have RELATIVES working here? Or parents, grandparents RETIRED here?

With a Shadow Cabinet of 43 … there are British Columbia MPs among them … but again, NOT ONE in a top post, according to O’Toole’s own party!!!

If you’d like to play the new Tory Game “Spot the British Columbian!) here’s a link to the full list: https://www.conservative.ca/erin-otoole-announces-conservative-shadow-cabinet/.

How is O’Toole getting away with this?

Because our Media … especially our “national” media … see the country from an overwhelming Ontario and Quebec point of view.

Imagine what would happen if Ontario or Quebec were EVER treated the way O’Toole has treated. BC!!!

It wouldn’t even occur to the “national” Media to see/notice or even care if British Columbia is included, respected or insulted, excluded and denied even a modicum of fairness in how the powers and favours of “national” appointments (and spending) are allocated.

As for our BC media and their pundits …well, I’ll leave it to them …and to you … to explain how/why they’ve MISSED all the signs, signals and slights BC has already received at the hands of the Conservatives’ new Leader.

And No , I’m not going back to Ottawa to give BC bold media presence and attention again … but somebody should!

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts to all new topics on this BC-based Blog by following @harveyoberfeld.ca on Twitter. No spam, just First Alerts to new postings.)

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11 Responses to O’Toole Snubs British Columbia … Again and Again!

  1. DBW says:

    Harvey, you made a little dig at my admitted bias in your last comment, previous post when I said there was little to find fault with the NDP. Of course, all governments can be criticized. There is always something to find fault with. My point was that the issues you were raising about the NDP were insignificant in the context of this time.

    And as a self-admitted biased person against conservative parties I will make the same point here. This is so not an issue.

    The CPC won 17 seats in BC in 2019. That is 14% of the 121 seats that the CPC won Canada wide.
    There are 8 BCers in the 43 person shadow cabinet. That is 18.6%.
    If you want to add the 9 leadership people (non from Saskatchewan as well by the way) that means BC represents 15% of the 52 people.

    Only 2 women in that leadership group. Is that an issue. Why not criticize them for that?

    There is plenty to criticize O’Toole and the Conservatives. This just isn’t one of them.

    (Response: O’Toole has to understand the “West” is NOT just Alberta! He has acted so far as a typical Central Canada politician … bowing and scraping to Quebec and Ontario, speaking almost patronizing of Alberta (the Tory base?) while ignoring and thus insulting BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Action speaks louder than words: Not a single Senior staff member from the West; not a single top House team member from BC … Why would anyone here be impressed with any Leader who is really letting us know quite early we don’t count. h.o)

  2. e.a.f. says:

    This is of no surprise to me. Of course O’Toole was going to ignore B.C. as best he could. The Premier is the leader of the NDP. No need to talk to those horrible socialists. O’Toole might have called had the Premier been a B.C. Lieberal or some such other party, but phoning the NDP Premier, not going to happen. Those of us in B.C. who expect anything from O’Toole need to give their heads a shake. It just demonstrates to me O’Toole isn’t that bright or that much of a politician. Hasn’t figured out that there are some Conservative M.P.s out here. He insulted them and those who vote Conservative.

    Just let this be a reminder to those thinking of voting Conservative at the next federal election, O’Toole isn’t going to be interested in B. C. or what we need. He may make promises, but political promises are sort of like promises from a drug dealer who promises you your drugs are fent. free.

    (Response: O’Toole sure isn’t showing that BC counts or is worthy at all … for ANY top positions. Again, just imagine if he had treated Quebec or Ontario the way he was treated BC. Where the hell is our media????? Isn’t anybody paying attention??? Do they even care about BC being insulted and ignored by O’Toole the way we have been?? He’s not hiding it: the lists of top appointments (see the Conservatives’ own website!) says it all. h.o)

  3. D. M. Johnston says:

    BC, who cares?

    The conservatives think that BC will provide them with ample MP’s despite the snub and they are probably right.

    I was floored that Scheer was made Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Communities as I thought past leaders retired.

    Of course, it didn’t help that BC MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay was accused of spreading potentially dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. O’Toole thought all BC conservative MP were of the same ilk.

    Again, it seems the conservatives have elected a leader ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of Victory.

    Independents are looking better and better each day.

    As an aside, 2 points.

    Kerry-Lynne Findlay was my MP in Delta South a few Parliaments back and all i can remember is my post box stuffed with her parliamentary infomercials basically telling me how much better she was that us.

    On the net, the pro O’Toole Trumpian style fake news propaganda is reaching a crescendo and it is more of a turn off than anything else. Keep it above the belt please.

    (Response: Maybe O’Toole is learning from the winning Liberal theory of old, reportedly coined by Liberal Senator Keith Davie “Screw the West; we’ll take the rest!) Notice whenever he speaks of alienation ,or the importance of the West etc .. he just points to Alberta. Hey, O’Toole, the “WEST” is more than Alberta!!!! British Columbia is Canada’s third largest province by population, with the third largest city in the country … it’s about time the LEADER starts treating us that way!!!! h.o)

  4. SG says:

    The actually is a shadow cabinet minister from BC.


    (Response: Of course, with 43 shadow cabinet members, EVERY province has a shadow role. But not a SINGLE British Columbian among his named top staff; not a SINGLE British Columbian among the TOP Shadow Cabinet roles ..as listed on the CONSEVATIVES’ own website!!! Let O’Toole treat Ontario or Quebec the way he has SNUBBED British Columbia … and the people and the media reporters and pundits would be all over the issue! If British Columbians want to stop getting Second Rate treatment, we have to stop accepting/excusing these insults!!! h.o)

  5. nonconfidencevote says:

    As we all know.
    The election is won if your Party takes the majority of seats in Ontario and Quebec.
    It helps to have several other seats in the Maritimes, a smattering of western seats doesnt hurt….

    I wont be voting FOR O’Toole….I’ll be voting AGAINST Trudeau and the communist loons infesting the NDP…..so yes I’ll be voting conservative in the next election …unless, of course, I am unable.
    The last election saw my Burnaby North riding boot the crazy, homophobic loon from the conservative ballot in the last weeks of the election…( and she still garnered a hefty number of votes..)

    There are a lot of angry voters out there that will hold their noses and vote conservative just to avoid another 4 more years of a Liberal financial fiasco.
    Our economy and dollar cant take much more of this.

    (Response: I personally thought on the night O’Toole was chosen, he seemed like a definite improvement over Scheer when it comes to electability. And at first, it seemed like his failure to reach out or even mention BC was just a slip. And then when I saw no reports of his talking to Horgan on the first day after becoming Leader, I reasoned that was because Horgan being NDP, he could wait. But now he is demeaning and giving the finger to BC … with his TOTAL SHUTOUT of British Columbians from Senior staff appointments and his TOTAL SHUTOUT of British Columbians from his TOP team for handling the Opposition role. It is NOT a coincidence .. and remember, key roles in Opposition most often lead to key roles in government!! Which makes the silence of BC’s “working” media reporters and pundits on this second rate treatment even more shameful. h.o)

  6. max avelli says:

    Maybe this is just a reflection of how totally devoid the BC Conservative caucus is of anything resembling talent or promise? 🙂

    Just saying.

    Who on earth amongst that bunch do you think is deserving of any form of elevation?

  7. Beenie says:

    Harvey, Harvey, Harvey. Lets give him a chance to get his feet wet. Why are people so sensitive. Here’s your opening for a come back. I thought BC was perfect and didn’t have problems. O’Toole does have the intelligence certainly compared to Trudeau. All Trudeau know is to hand out money and smile. What has he done for the Canadian economy? Absolutely nothing. So let O’Toole get around the country. Let him properly organize his cabinet and then criticize if needed. I’m done with Trudeau and anyone else will get my vote. Show O’Toole some faith and then see what he does for the WHOLE country and the economy. Enough said.

    (Response: Of course, O’Toole will have time to “get his feet wet”. However it sure looks like ..based on HIS actions, HIS statements, HIS appointments … the only water he intends to only waters he intends to navigate are Lake Ontario, the St Lawrence River, the Atlantic Ocean and Alberta’s Bow and Athabasca Rivers. I understand you live/write from Ontario: can you imagine the uproar if after he became leader, O’Toole didn’t even mention Ontario in his first reaching out speech, his first phone calls to Premiers or there was not a SINGLE Ontarian named to his TOP staff or TOP House of Commons Shadow posts!!! Not ONE!!! I’d bet the Toronto Star, the CBC “National”, even Premier Ford would be ALL OVER that! It’s about time Central Canada showed the same respect for the West ..all the West …not just Alberta, as O’Toole has done! h.o)

  8. Gilbert says:

    I have to be honest. It’s obvious that Erin O’Toole isn’t as conservative as he claimed during the leadership campaign. He just wanted the votes of social conservatives, and he accomplished that.

    I wish he’d give British Columbia more attention. In fact, I wish all political parties gave British Columbia more attention. It’s true that the NDP is in power in BC, but that shouldn’t matter because prime ministers have to work with premiers of all political parties. I hope that over time he’ll give British Columbia the respect that it deserves.

    (Response: Oh, I have no doubt that he will be out here soon …and a whole lot more before and during any election campaign … TELLING us how important we are, how Western alienation must be a priority, yada, yada. But ACTION speaks louder than words and O’Toole’s actions are quite clear: “Western” to him means Alberta; and HIS corridors of power are best filled with Ontarians and Quebeckers the occasional Albertan … and BC doesn’t really count for much. h.o)

  9. DBW says:

    I decided to take your challenge of spotting the British Columbian. Easy to do. Use Control F and type in a province and you get that province highlighted. Just be sure not to count the riding of Fort Saskatchewan (which is in Alberta) as a person. There were a couple of other tricky ones but nothing particularly time consuming. So here goes out of the 52.

    BC 8 out of 17 elected
    Alberta 12 out of 33
    Saskatchewan 4 of 14
    Manitoba 3 out of 7
    Ontario `17 out of 36
    Quebec 5 out of 10
    Nova Scotia 1 out of 1
    New Brunswick 2 out of 3
    PEI, Newfoundland, Nunuvat, NWT and Yukon were shut out because they didn’t elect any Conservatives.

    Ignoring the Maritimes, BC, Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba got about 50% of there members selected.
    Alberta and Saskatchewan who between them went 47/48 in electing Conservatives got about 1/3 of their members selected. Talk about taking your base for granted.

    As to your point about no British Columbians in the 9 person leadership group. No, none were selected but does anybody really care about the question period co-ordinator or the deputy whip or even the real whip. And no, no BCers in the high profile Finance or Foreign Affairs or Justice or Health, but a BCer is responsible for Housing, Crown-Indigenous Affairs, Environment/Climate Change, International Trade, Labour, Mental Health, National Security, and Diversity/Inclusion. I would say some of those are pretty significant.

    I know BC might not always get the attention it deserves, but I really don’t see this shadow cabinet as being one of those times.

    (Response: Your reasoning “who cares about … ” is perhaps one of the reasons BC is so often short-changed in appointments and positions of power. Too many of us are happy to settle for third or fourth place …or, in the case of O’Toole’s TOP appointments, NO position at all! When you have no one at the table …any table ..how can you expect your interests, your concerns to be a priority …or even considered. Especially with the TOTAL absence of BC TOP staff presence. How can you defend that??? BC should learn from Quebec, from Quebeckers, from Quebec media, from Quebec radio hosts … when there is even a hint that Quebec is getting even SLIGHTLY less than their share of ANY pie, there is outrage! And it works! And Ontario doesn’t even have to shout, stamp their feet: their numbers get them priority access and appointments to everything federal. Why should we really care? Because remember, when anyone gets MORE than their fair share of the pie, others get LESS than their fair share. It’s about time BC gets its fair share! And so far, O’Toole has screwed BC … and thanks to the silence of the local media and open mouth pundits, he is getting away with it. h.o)

  10. nonconfidencevote says:

    @ Max Avelli
    “Who on earth amongst that bunch do you think is deserving of any form of elevation?


    Possibly none.
    But anything is better than the perpetually elected “The crosses are burning on lawns in Prince George as I speak” Liberal MP Hedy Fry.
    Her apology for exaggerating (lying?) was almost as amusing as the crass stupidity of her statement…. but she did get some press……

    While the conservatives may have a legion of intellectual lightweights in their midst….I’m sure they cant hold a candle to the vapid dolt in charge.

  11. Eldon says:

    It’s weird how many commenters here are pretending this isn’t a deliberate shot at BC.

    (Response: The media in BC are not doing their job. Not only have they ignored the issue …not even asking O’Toole’s staff about it, getting their Ottawa Bureaus to raise it and approaching BC Tory MPs about it, but a couple of days ago, CKNW’s Michael Smyth had O’Toole on his show and didn’t even raise the issue!!! That would NEVER happen in Quebec or Ontario …or Alberta either if those provinces were absent from O’Toole’s remarks AND had not a single TOP staff or Commons appointment. Just imagine the outrage they’d stir up … great for their population, their province, and their ratings. No wonder BC is so ignored by Central Canada politicians … with such a subservient media that we have here. h.o)

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