Erin O’Toole

Photo illustration by Jackie Conroy

People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier used the health crisis to pad his popularity and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the COVID-19 crisis as “a wedge issue,” says Conservative leader Erin O’Toole.

“There were two people that used health in this pandemic for political gain, Mr. Trudeau and the PPC,” O’Toole told reporters in Ottawa.

Trudeau had “divided the country and actually made health a wedge issue.”

“People are frustrated that we were in a pandemic election, that Mr. Trudeau was using the pandemic to divide people.”

The PPC finished second in numerous ridings across the country, seemingly taking votes away from the Tories. They ran on an anti-mandatory vaccine platform.

“Some people expressed their frustration in that way. That’s part of our exercise on how we make sure we can learn, and make sure that we can close those small gaps that you mentioned, and win in those seats where we were close, where we had gains in many cases, but didn’t close the deal,” said O’Toole.

“In about 30 ridings we came within 2,000 votes of the Liberals. We are building towards victory next time. I am disappointed that we’ve lost some members and I’ve already initiated a post-election review to examine what went right, what went wrong, and what we can do better to win in 18 months.”

The Monday election really didn’t change a thing, giving Trudeau a minority government. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Tories had gained four seats in Atlantic Canada and one in Ontario, while losing four in B.C. and three in Alberta.

Elections Canada was still counting mail-in ballots on Wednesday.

News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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