Plane Talk: Erin O’Toole on his possible leadership run

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Plane Talk: Erin O’Toole on his possible leadership run
Conservative MP Erin O'Toole takes a flight with Tom Clark, and chats about the possibility of running to replace Stephen Harper – Mar 27, 2016

Former Veterans Affairs minister Erin O’Toole says he won’t completely discount running for the leadership of the Conservative Party, but it would take a lot of arm-twisting.

Flying high in the skies above Ottawa with the West Block’s Tom Clark, O’Toole said that if a group of his caucus-mates came to him and asked him to run, he’d give it serious thought.

“I wouldn’t (say no), if I thought I could help the cause,” he told Clark.

“I want to be involved in rebuilding the party and making sure that we’re a strong, viable option to win in 2019.”

Still, he added, there are plenty of “good people” who have already expressed interest in replacing Stephen Harper on a permanent basis. The rules for the leadership contest were released earlier in March, and the final vote will happen in May 2017.

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“It’s a demanding job,” O’Toole said of the leadership role, which is currently being filled on an interim basis by Rona Ambrose.

“It’s consuming … with a young family, I can only imagine the prime minister’s stress, both prime minister Harper and prime minister Trudeau.”

A lawyer by trade, O’Toole is also a former Royal Canadian Air Force officer. He said that his role at veteran’s affairs minister gave him the opportunity to “implement some change, some modernization of the department,” and that he still regrets not being able to complete more of that work.

When his political career ends, he’d like to try his hand at teaching.

“Every week I’m not Parliament I speak in at least one school in my riding, I love that format. I respect teachers and professors.”

Watch the full interview, featuring O’Toole’s rendition of Greased Lightning, above. And check out the extended version here:



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