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MP Blaine Calkins responds to ousting of Conservative Party leader

Calkins calls leading a federal party a ‘daunting task’
MP Blaine Calkins. (Black Press file photo)

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins responded to the ousting of Conservative leader Erin O’Toole on Feb. 2 in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

The party’s 119 members met virtually today to cast their votes in a secret ballot, with 73 voting to replace O’Toole and 45 endorsing him.

Calkins did not say how he voted in the matter, but said the Conservatives “made the difficult decision” to remove O’Toole as the leader of the party, adding “Leading a federal party is a daunting task.”

He then thanked O’Toole and his family for their efforts over the past year and a half.

“While this decision was difficult, I remain confident that the Conservative team in Ottawa will continue to effectively hold Justin Trudeau and his tired, corrupt, hypocritical and divisive government to account as we prepare to win the next federal election,” said Calkins.

Later tonight, the Conservative caucus will elect an interim leader, and in the coming weeks, the leadership race to elect a permanent leader will begin in earnest.

This will be the third time the party has changed its leader since 2017.

The vote came after about one-third of the party’s members signed a notice that triggered a leadership review.

The 2015 Reform Act allows a party’s MPs to trigger a leadership review instead of putting the question to the wider membership.

“I look forward to a robust debate on the important policies that Canadians are counting on Conservatives to deliver and hearing the candidates’ suggestions on the path forward for our party,” said Calkins.

READ MORE: Erin O’Toole voted out as Conservative leader by MPs

- With files from the Canadian Press