Erin O’Toole is the new leader of the federal Conservative Party. (Canadian Press photo)

Mitchell’s Musings: O’Toole steps up and into the spotlight

His name is Erin O’Toole and he is the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada after a leadership race that you might have missed due to the pandemic thing, the Trump thing, the BLM thing, well, pretty much any thing that’s been dominating headlines over the last little while more than the Tories-trying-to-finally-get-it-right-this-time thing.

Nevertheless, his low, or no, profile should change soon as he battles to become prime minister in an election that could theoretically come as early as this fall.

And although the Tories would never ask for advice from this corner, especially seeing how I qualify as a left-leaning mainstream media type, here’s some observations on the O’Toole file as I see things so far in the infancy of his leadership.

First of all he is a guy. It’s not his fault that his parents chose the more common female spelling of Erin than Aaron but it is what it is and it doesn’t mean a thing about his chances, but I thought I’d point it out anyway because I have a thing about names, you know like two ‘n’ Glenns and such.

Now O’Toole came in third in the last leadership race to winner Andrew Scheer, who went on to shed that title by losing to Liberal Justin Trudeau in what should have been a slam-dunk election win.

Technical foul after technical foul led to Scheer missing an open net on a breakaway (I’m deliberately mixing metaphors by the way) and it’s four more years of the hip and woke one.

The guy that came in second last time around was Maxime Bernier, who subsequently quit in a huff and started his own party and rode off into political oblivion in the next election.

So one could argue, quite easily, that it would have been better if O’Toole won last time and should have won this time, or, conversely, if he can’t beat those two in a political race, yikes, the Tories are in bigger trouble than anyone thought.

But this time he was up against the early favourite, hipster and the Tory version of Trudeau charm and looks Peter MacKay, and upstart, unknown Leslyn Lewis who couldn’t speak French and still almost beat the two veteran MPs.

Still, he worked hard enough and was far enough right to get Lewis supporters’ support to triumph in the end and deal MacKay, who ironically came up with the empty net scenario in criticizing Scheer’s performance (yes, politics is cruel but karma rules), a humiliating loss.

And after studying O’Toole on Sunday night during the marathon vote session, due to technical difficulties (and these guys want to run the country?), I have a few observations to offer. His acceptance speech was quite okay, well the part I heard, as it was humble, a bit funny, clear, personable – and he even comes across a little nerdy, and I’m saying that as a good thing.

You see, he, and his family, look like the majority of us Canadians: not cool and Hollywood good looking maybe but real, and, hopefully, substantial. Like he takes politics and running a country seriously. He is the perfect nearly-bald foil to the great-hair Trudeau, at least at first glance.

Trudeau is rich, good looking, not exactly humble and talks like he’s answering a college essay question when we’d much prefer just the facts, Jack.

And although I like Trudeau in many ways and it’s cool to have a heartthrob, young, smart head of state, especially considering south of the border where the guy strikes out on all three counts, sometimes it seems like Justin is too hip for his own good and just plays at being prime minister. Like if a better offer came along, like ambassador to Bermuda or something, he’d be all over it and ditch the headaches and the posturing and go surfing. Plus his ethics lately, well, he’s an insider and we’re not.

O’Toole comes across as the nerdy outsider who really, really wants to be class president but always loses out to the better-looking, more popular kid who, in the end, could really take it or leave it but it sure looks good on the resume and the chicks dig it.

But, of course, the nerd would’ve worked harder and cared more and likely done a better job for the school, er, country.

We’ll soon see how far right the nerd, er, O’Toole, is – he does want to defund CBC somewhat but maybe it’s time, after all every other traditional media is hurting. He hasn’t lied to me yet, so far so good, even though it’s only been three or four days. I say, let’s hear what he has to say.

And if the Tories are smart they’ll play up the nerd angle vs. the too-cool-for-school PM who just might have worn out his welcome. You’re welcome. Let the games begin.

READ MORE: CAO biggest Lake Country earner and spender

READ MORE: Boat taken off Wood Lake, alcohol found on board

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Schubert Centre reopens with new chef, menu to serve Vernon

Farm-to-table focused chef aims to serve up more local eats to seniors, diners

COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

Petition wants ‘aggressive dogs’ banned from Vernon-area parks

Local woman starts online petition to urge RDNO to change bylaws after reported dog attack

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read