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If Erin O’Toole wanted to remove Derek Sloan, he could have just said so.
He could have had the courage of his convictions, and publicly called for Sloan to be removed for ideological differences because he thinks Sloan doesn’t fit with the party.
Of course, O’Toole would then have been asked why he was previously so eager to be seen as on Sloan’s side:
As you can see, when O’Toole felt he needed the votes of party members, when he was courting Sloan’s supporters, O’Toole made a big deal of being Sloan’s only defender.
That was at a time when the Liberals, the media, and some Conservatives, were calling for Sloan to be removed for remarks about Dr. Theresa Tam.
O’Toole’s strategy worked, as he managed to win many of the votes of those who supported Dr. Leslyn Lewis, who had in turn received the support of many of Sloan’s supporters.
And thus, Erin O’Toole won the CPC leadership, branding himself as someone who would fight against ‘cancel culture.’
But now, O’Toole’s interests have changed.
He already has the leadership of the party, and is seeking to undo his previous "True Blue" branding and reframe himself and the party as centrists.
Sloan is seen as a liability to that effort, and rather than accept that there are different viewpoints, rather than truly push back against cancel culture, and rather than live up to what he claimed during the leadership, it seems O’Toole would prefer to make his "problem" go away.
Thus, it was revealed that neo-Nazi Paul Fromm had donated to Sloan, under the name Frederick P Fromm.
Despite the fact that Fromm appears to be a current member of the Conservative Party (meaning nobody else noticed an issue), despite the fact that the party approved his membership (not a decision made by Sloan), and despite the party taking a cut of the donation, sending Fromm a leadership campaign ballot, and then accepting the ballot back, O’Toole has decided that the donation will be the pretext he uses to remove Sloan.
It’s a cowardly and dishonest move.
It’s cowardly because it shows O’Toole didn’t feel he could justify removing Sloan on the merits of whatever disagreement he has with him.
And it’s dishonest, because O’Toole is holding Sloan to a standard that isn’t being applied to the rest of the Conservative Party.
There is also something even more concerning about all of this.
It’s one thing to try and end someone’s political career by branding them as disloyal to a political party, or too ideological, or whatever else we regularly see. None of that is permanently destructive to someone’s future.
But O’Toole is attempting to end Sloan’s career in a way that would leave Sloan branded as someone who courts neo-Nazi support. That is the kind of thing that can destroy someone in a lasting manner, and it’s about the worst possible claim you can make about somebody.
For O’Toole to have shifted so rapidly from bragging about being Sloan’s only defender to being willing to leave Sloan without a party and branded with the most toxic possible legacy should be giving everyone whiplash, and should have every Conservative MP wondering whether they would have any support if fortune turned against them…