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Erin O'Toole

Erin O'Toole

Canadian politician
Erin O'Toole
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Canadian politician
Is Politician Lawyer
From Canada
Type Law Politics
Gender male
Birth 22 January 1973, Montreal, Urban agglomeration of Montreal, Montreal Region, Canada
Age 47 years
Star sign Aquarius
Politics Conservative Party of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada
Erin O'Toole
The details


Erin Michael O'Toole PC CD MP (born January 22, 1973) is a Canadian politician who is the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Leader of the Official Opposition of Canada since August 24, 2020.

He is the Member of Parliament (MP) representing Durham. He was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in a by-election on November 26, 2012. O'Toole previously served as minister of veterans affairs in 2015. In 2017, O'Toole ran in the 2017 Conservative leadership race to replace Stephen Harper, in which he finished third. Since August 2017, O'Toole has been serving as the Official Opposition critic for foreign affairs.

On August 24, 2020, O'Toole defeated party founding father (2003) and former Minister of Defence Peter MacKay in the 2020 Conservative leadership election to succeed Andrew Scheer as Conservative Party leader.


O'Toole was born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Molly (Hall) and John O'Toole, who served as the member of Provincial Parliament for Durham in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario between 1995 and 2014. His father is a many-generations Canadian, of Irish descent, and his mother was born in London, England, and came to Canada after World War II. Following his mother's death when he was nine years old, his family moved to Port Perry where he attended elementary school. O'Toole and his family later moved a short way to Bowmanville, where he graduated from Bowmanville High School.

In 1991, O'Toole joined the military, and enrolled at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston, Ontario. O'Toole holds an honours bachelor of arts in history and political science from RMC, and a law degree from Dalhousie University. Moreover, during his time in the military, O'Toole enrolled in French classes.

O'Toole married his wife Rebecca in 2000. They have a daughter, Mollie, and a son, Jack.

Military career

Following his 1995 graduation from RMC, O'Toole was commissioned as an officer in the Canadian Forces Air Command (AIRCOM), now the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he attained the rank of second lieutenant. His first posting with Air Command occurred in Trenton, Ontario, where he was involved in search and rescue operations. O'Toole also spent time at 17 Wing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he completed his training as an air navigator.

In 1997, O'Toole was posted to 12 Wing in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. While serving at this post, O'Toole flew as a tactical navigator on a CH-124 (Sea King) helicopter with 423 Squadron, conducted maritime surveillance, and performed search and rescue and naval support operations. While serving at 12 Wing, O'Toole was promoted to the rank of captain. O'Toole also received the Canadian Forces' Decoration for 12 years of service to Canada. O'Toole was also awarded the Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award, for having rescued an injured fisherman at sea.

In 2000, O'Toole completed his active service in the military. He transferred to the reserves working as a training officer running flight simulators, while he pursued a law degree until 2003.

Legal career

O'Toole graduated from Dalhousie University with a law degree in 2003, and returned to Ontario. He articled at, and later became a lawyer with Stikeman Elliott, a leading business law firm in Toronto. During this time, O'Toole primarily practised corporate law, insolvency matters and energy regulation.

Between 2006 and 2011, O'Toole served as the Canadian in-house counsel for Procter & Gamble. He served as corporate counsel for the Gillette healthcare, beauty, and paper business groups, provided commercial and regulatory law advice, and was counsel on issues relating to legislation and anti-counterfeiting operations in Canada.

In 2011, O'Toole joined the law firm Heenan Blaikie.

Political career

In May 2012, O'Toole announced his plans to run as the Conservative candidate in the by-election for Durham, following Bev Oda's resignation. On November 26, 2012, O'Toole easily won the by-election for the electoral district of Durham. After spending a few months as a backbencher in the House of Commons, O'Toole was named the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, in September 2013.

In 2014, O'Toole partnered with then-senator Roméo Dallaire to host the first Samuel Sharpe Memorial Breakfast, in honour of former soldier and MP Samuel Simpson Sharpe. Sharpe committed suicide in 1918 following his return home from World War I, leaving his military accomplishments largely ignored due to the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. O'Toole and Dallaire started the memorial breakfast to bring issues of veteran's mental health to the forefront, to recognize those who have served Canada who battle mental health, and to improve access to treatment and resources for soldiers suffering from operational stress injuries. In May 2018, O'Toole introduced a motion to install a plaque commemorating Sharpe on Parliament Hill. The motion to install the plaque passed unanimously.

Minister of Veterans Affairs

On January 5, 2015, O'Toole was appointed minister of veterans affairs, replacing Julian Fantino. O'Toole priortized repairing relations with veterans and addressing the several complaints Canadian veterans had with Fantino.

During his time as minister of veterans affairs, O'Toole was able to convince the veterans to place a lawsuit against the Canadian Government on hold while they entered settlement negotiations. The lawsuit, filed before O'Toole was named minister, was based on Canadian soldiers arguing that the 2006 overhaul of veteran benefits was discriminatory.

2015 federal election

In the 2015 election, O'Toole was re-elected as MP for Durham. He received 45 per cent of the vote, followed by Liberal candidate Corinna Traill at 36%.

2017 Conservative leadership campaign

Stephen Harper resigned as Conservative party leader after the party was defeated by the Liberals in the 2015 election. O'Toole announced that he would seek the interim leadership of the Conservative Party. He was defeated by Rona Ambrose, who named O'Toole the Official Opposition critic for public safety.

On October 14, 2016, O'Toole announced his nomination to be a candidate in the 2017 Conservative Party of Canada leadership election. O'Toole received endorsements from 31 MPs, 12 former MPs, 17 provincial politicians, and CANZUK International. O'Toole finished in third place, behind Maxime Bernier and eventual winner Andrew Scheer.

Foreign Affairs opposition critic

On August 31, 2018, O'Toole was appointed the Official Opposition Critic for foreign affairs.

In 2018, after Patrick Brown resigned over accusations of sexual misconduct, O'Toole considered entering the Ontario PC leadership election race. However, O'Toole passed on the opportunity, instead endorsing and supporting Christine Elliott.

2020 Conservative leadership campaign

After the October 2019 election, in December, Andrew Scheer resigned as Conservative Party leader after losing to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Scheer remained as interim leader.

O'Toole announced that he would seek the leadership of the Conservative Party in late January 2020.

O'Toole subsequently won the leadership race after three rounds of ballots were counted.

Awards and recognition

In 2012, O'Toole was awarded the Christopher J. Coulter Young Alumnus Award by Dalhousie University, for his achievements and dedication to community service.

Also in 2012, O'Toole received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; all serving MPs that year were recipients.

Electoral record

2019 Canadian federal election: Durham
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Erin O'Toole 30,752 42.1 -3.03
Liberal Jonathan Giancroce 23,547 32.2 -3.55
New Democratic Sarah Whalen-Wright 13,323 18.2 +2.17
Green Evan Price 3,950 5.4 +2.88
People's Brenda Virtue 1,442 2.0
Total valid votes/Expense limit 73,014 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 480
Turnout 73,494 71.2
Eligible voters 107,367
Conservative hold Swing +0.26
Source: Elections Canada
2015 Canadian federal election: Durham
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Erin O'Toole 28,967 45.13 −10.04 $117,180.89
Liberal Corinna Traill 22,949 35.75 +20.22 $51,458.76
New Democratic Derek Spence 10,289 16.03 −7.72 $21,240.10
Green Stacey Leadbetter 1,616 2.52 −2.04 $109.90
Christian Heritage Andrew Moriarity 364 0.57 $4,224.95
Total valid votes/Expense limit 64,185 100.00   $236,417.96
Total rejected ballots 233 0.36
Turnout 64,418 68.93
Eligible voters 93,455
Conservative hold Swing -15.13
Source: Elections Canada
Canadian federal by-election, November 26, 2012: Durham
Resignation of Bev Oda
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Erin O'Toole 17,280 50.72 −3.83 $95,331
New Democratic Larry O'Connor 8,946 26.26 +5.16 $96,257
Liberal Grant Humes 5,887 17.28 −0.57 $91,946
Green Virginia Ervin 1,386 4.07 −1.32 $742
Christian Heritage Andrew Moriarity 437 1.28 +0.49 $4,379
Online Michael Nicula 132 0.39 $1,080
Total valid votes 34,068 100.00
Total rejected ballots 115
Turnout 34,183 35.87
Eligible voters 95,296
Conservative hold Swing −8.99
Source: "November 26, 2012 By-elections". Elections Canada. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 24 Aug 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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