Conservative members sought stability Monday in choosing Erin O'Toole as leader after a campaign where he focused on keeping the party close to its "true blue" fundamentals.

O'Toole secured his victory in the leadership race after three rounds of counting.

The results had been expected Sunday night but were delayed into the early hours of Monday morning after problems opening the envelopes containing several thousand of the estimated 175,000 ballots sent in by mail.

"To the millions of Canadians that are still up, that I'm meeting tonight for the first time: Good morning. I'm Erin O'Toole, you're going to be seeing and hearing a lot from me in the coming weeks and months," O'Toole said in his victory speech.

"But I want you to know from the start that I am here to fight for you and your family."

His victory over rival Peter MacKay could spell the end of MacKay's political career. It is also likely to immediately raise questions about the future for progressive Conservatives in the party, who hoped that with MacKay, the party could finally move past the debates around social conservative issues.

In a message on social media, MacKay offered his congratulations to O'Toole after the hard-fought campaign.

"It's now time for our (Conservative) party and movement to come together, and to focus on what's most important: ensuring our country gets moving in the right direction again," he said.

Even if MacKay had won, he would have found himself grappling with the surprise success of Leslyn Lewis, the Toronto lawyer who placed third in the contest, despite never holding office and entering the race as a near-total unknown to most, but not all.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who had endorsed O'Toole, called Lewis a friend, and said her showing in the campaign remarkable.

"Leslyn has broken through many barriers to become a significant voice in Canadian political life. I hope and expect to see great things from her in the future!" he wrote on Twitter early Monday.

Conservative members sought stability on Monday, August 24, 2020, in choosing Erin O'Toole as leader after a campaign where he focused on keeping the party close to its "true blue" fundamentals.

Derek Sloan, who was also running with the support of social conservatives, placed fourth with 4,864 of the available points after the first round of counting.

O'Toole's victory reflects a pitch he'd made to both their supporters in the waning weeks of the race, asking them to use the ranked ballot to make him their number 2 or number 3 choice.

His sell: with a seat in Parliament, and the political experience necessary for the job, he was the best choice to lead the party forward, but he would ensure their views would remain respected as well.

Bringing together the party's various factions will be one of O'Toole's challenges, and the results also showed some fault lines regionally.

In the first round, Lewis beat out both O'Toole and MacKay in Saskatchewan and placed second to O'Toole in Alberta, a reflection of her ability to connect strongly with the grassroots there.

With none of the four candidates hailing from the West, all eyes had been on how the party's western base would voice its concerns over the candidates and the campaigns in the vote.

O'Toole spoke to them, to voters in Quebec, and to all prospective Conservative voters in his speech Monday morning, saying that no matter a person's race or religion, sexual orientation, how long they've been in Canada, income level or education, they matter.

"You are an important part of Canada and you have a home in the Conservative Party of Canada," he said.

O'Toole takes over the party — and the job of Official Opposition leader — exactly a month before the minority Liberal government will deliver a throne speech laying out a post-pandemic recovery plan.

The vote on the speech is a confidence motion and the Liberals have all but dared the Tories to try to bring them down.

The Liberals congratulated O'Toole but also warned him.

"We have a real chance to build a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener, more fair, and more competitive, and while we will have our differences, we hope the Conservative leader will join us in that work," party president Suzanne Cowan said in a statement.

"We also hope Mr. O'Toole will reconsider continuing to push the same policies of Stephen Harper and Andrew Scheer that he also proposed in this leadership campaign. They would take Canada backward by making harmful cuts to services that Canadians count on, weakening Canada's gun control laws, rolling back our work to fight climate change, and much more."

Much of the leadership race itself was shaped by the pandemic. The vote was supposed to take place in June, but was pushed back and for a time, the campaign itself was paused.

A leadership convention, the kind filled with thousands of supporters, was jettisoned in favour of a hybrid in-person and virtual results reveal after an entirely mail-in ballot vote.

Those had to be returned by Friday. While counting was underway throughout Sunday, the machines tasked with slicing envelopes malfunctioned, requiring several thousand ballots to be extracted and replicated by hand under the close eye of scrutineers.

It led to an excruciating wait for the candidates, their campaigns, and the party staff and volunteers. MacKay passed the time doing push-ups in his hotel suite, O'Toole doing live Zoom chats with supporters.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2020.

Erin O'Toole, the Trump of the north. The CPC just shot themselves in the foot with their choice as a leader. That last thing Canada needs is a Trump loving leader. Erin only has hate, fear, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, white nationalism, anti-progressive, anti-climate change/science, anti-choice, anti-Universal Healthcare to offer.

They say that due to the social conservatives in the party a leadership hopeful has to campaign to the right. Winning an actual election will require reaching out to regular people. We'll see if O'Toole is capable of doing this.

Excellent question.

Hahaha! The letter opener that ate the CPC. Hi-tech rises Phoenix-like to smite the régressives. Mr. O’Toole, however, is distinguished from previous CPC leaders and many of his caucus members by having been gainfully employed before becoming an MP. Perhaps he will prove to be a political aberration too, capable of dragging his party into the present.

I congratulate Mr O'Toole on his win and if I could offer him an advice it would be to discontinue the use of any words or expressions that describe violence.

For example, in his post win address to Canadians he vows to "fight" for Canadians. He could have said that we will "work" for Canadians; language matters and I tire of the constant messaging that we are in a battle and that we must fight our opponents etc.

We can all do with less violence in our society, and how we speak to one another is a good place to start for all leaders!

We are in for an interesting fall and winter!

But we ARE in a battle. Conservatives understand this and it's time we did too. Economically, there is a fundamental opposition in motives between rich owners and everyone else; they want all the money, all the property, all the world. We want to keep some of it and maybe leave some of it green (I personally want to take it all away from them). Both these things cannot happen, so we have to fight them for it. Socially, there is a fundamental opposition between people who insist that culture has to be a certain way and those who want freedom to differ. Both these things cannot happen. So, while our instincts may be to allow ALL different cultures, we CANNOT accommodate totalitarian ones. Thus, presented with social conservatism, white supremacists, antigay, misogynists, would-be theocrats and so on, we must fight.
We CANNOT all just get along; what the right wing want requires obliterating us culturally and impoverishing us financially and environmentally. It is a fight, they're well aware of it, so the more we realize it the better.

Thanks in part to the same disproportional voting system that enabled Doug Ford to win the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership, the federal Conservatives will stay on the social as well as economic hard right. The Liberals are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief.

Seemed to me like a perfectly decent voting system. The Conservatives' problem is that the right has been pushing a lot of nasty propaganda because that's what it takes to get people to back a side that is fundamentally against their own interests. The Achilles' heel of that is that eventually they end up with a bunch of supporters who believe the nasty propaganda and vote for other people who believe it instead of for the calculating money managers who paid for it to be concocted in the first place. They should have been careful what they wished for, 'cause now they're getting it.
I'm certainly hoping the result isn't electable in Canada overall.

It is, of course, a perfectly terrible system. It distorts the will of the people, encourages hyperpartisanship and nasty elections, and boosts status-quo candidates while keeping out women and minorities. It doesn't qualify as "democracy" at all, since democracy means "majority rules" and we are consistently ruled by parties that got 37% of the vote, or even less.

Proportional representation countries do better by any measure. They have lower debt, better environmental records, lower corporate taxes, more tolerant societies, better health care... the list goes on and on.

Or perhaps you meant the ranked-ballot system the CPC uses to choose its leaders. It's better than what we use in our elections, but it's pretty weird and undemocratic with its points system that makes all ridings equal no matter how many or few Conservatives live there.

Good to have also reported : "The Liberals congratulated O'Toole but also warned him."

"We have a real chance to build a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener, more fair, and more competitive, and while we will have our differences, we hope the Conservative leader will join us in that work," party president Suzanne Cowan said in a statement.

"We also hope Mr. O'Toole will reconsider continuing to push the same policies of Stephen Harper and Andrew Scheer that he also proposed in this leadership campaign. They would take Canada backward by making harmful cuts to services that Canadians count on, weakening Canada's gun control laws, rolling back our work to fight climate change, and much more."

Disappointing! We don't need another neoliberal political leader. His take back Canada motto was the most unbelievable. The CPC is not pro Canada, only pro conservative policies which is not consistent with Canadian values. Check out Alberta's new legislation: anti freedom of expression and protest, anti union, anti public education, anti public health care, anti public servants, anti government in general. Time to realize government is a necessary part of democracy and society.

Congrats Mr. O'Toole on winning the Tory leadership race. Now let's see if you, your MPs and members can work with our other national parties to help all Canadians, not just Conservatives. Canadian politics has sadly degraded into a cage-match style of governing with taxpaying citizens used as the cheering peanut gallery. Our shameful apathy — now fuelled by Covid 19 — allows politicians to slug it out while we pay dearly for the waste, injustice and lost potential of our once-great, wealthy country. Most Canadians want co-operation between our five national parties, not more childish, costly squabbling in the face of far larger fish to fry. NDP leader and MP Tommy Douglas, in his brilliantly insightful cartoon Mice and Cats, asks why Canadians continue to elect cats, not mice, to govern us mice. Let's hope Mr. O'Toole is not simply another (blue) cat.

Of course he's another cat. Not all socialist politicians are mice, but the only mouse politicians are socialists.

No idea what this means.

Be the first, NO, to look into O'Toole's dismal fit of opportunistic exploitation together with a strident escape from real responsibility that he calls his military 'career'. Never passed up a freebie and followed a path that took him as far away from Afghanistan as a Royal Military College grad could possibly get.