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O’Toole’s flaws must be part of Conservative election report: Sen. Batters

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OTTAWA —
The Conservative senator ousted for spearheading an effort to review Erin O’Toole’s leadership says a forthcoming report of the party’s election loss must confront its most serious flaws — including its leader’s.

Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters was shown the door to the national Conservative caucus last year, after launching a petition for members to sign in hopes that it would trigger the party to hold an earlier leadership review.

The Conservative party has rejected that process as invalid, but concerns still remain within caucus and more broadly about O’Toole’s ability to lead.

Among those are frustrations over reversals he made on the campaign trail on promises related to gun control and conscience rights, issues which are important to many supporters.

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Following his loss, O’Toole tapped former MP James Cumming to review the party’s election performance — the findings of which are set to be presented to caucus next Thursday.

Batters says she wasn’t invited to participate in the review, even though she says others who did told the author to get in touch with her.

Cumming says he doesn’t recall that, but he spoke to more than 400 people for his report and didn’t turn down any requests to take part.

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“This campaign review must accurately reflect all the major problems that were raised during meetings with participants,” Batters said in a statement.

“I have heard that questions seemed to focus on operational and process issues rather than what many participants viewed as the more significant problems of the leader, the platform and the many flip-flops that occurred during the election. “

A party spokesman confirmed this week that plans remain unchanged to keep the review for internal eyes only, which means those of senior staff as well as its caucus and national council.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2022.

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