Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has been declared to have lost his bid to become Canada’s next prime minister in 2021 federal election, but he is projected to have handily won his riding of Durham in Ontario.
With 44.2 per cent of polls reporting as of 12:22 a.m. ET, O’Toole had received 47.3 per cent of the votes in Durham, giving him a comfortable lead over Liberal Jonathan Giancroce, NDP candidate Chris Cameron and Patricia Conlin of the People’s Party of Canada.
And O’Toole’s concession speech shortly after midnight on Tuesday barely sounded like one.
The Conservative leader was quick to cast the election outcome as Justin Trudeau’s — rather than his own — failure.
“Canadians sent him back with another minority,” he said of Trudeau, calling his decision to call a snap election an attempt at a “quick power grab.”
“In the months ahead, as Mr. Trudeau gears up for yet another election, we must continue this journey,” O’Toole continued, likely signalling his intention to fight to continue leading the party.
The Conservative leader was the incumbent in Durham riding, which he has held since a 2012 by-election. Durham has been a Conservative stronghold since 2004, when former Conservative MP and cabinet minister Bev Oda took it away from the Liberals. O’Toole first ran in the riding as the Conservative candidate after her resignation in 2012.
As a relatively new MP, O’Toole was tapped by then-prime minister Stephen Harper to take over Veteran Affairs from Julian Fantino.
Read more: Watch live — 2021 Canadian election coverage
This would be the fourth time in a row that voters in Durham have sent O’Toole to represent them in Ottawa, a choice they’ve previously made in the 2015 and 2019 federal elections, in addition to the 2012 by-election.
In the 2019 election, O’Toole won his riding with just over 42 per cent of the vote, and an almost 10 percentage-point lead over Liberal Giancroce, who had the second-largest share of the vote. It was a result that closely replicated O’Toole’s performance in 2015, when he secured 45 per cent of the vote for the Conservatives in an election that saw sweeping gains for the Liberals as Justin Trudeau led the party to victory.
O’Toole became leader of the Conservative Party of Canada in 2020, after a failed run in 2017, when he finished third.
Before joining politics, O’Toole served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and went on to work as a corporate lawyer before becoming Durham’s MP.