New Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole says he didn’t issue a statement about an offensive tweet from one of his MPs because it was taken down before he saw it.

MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the party’s environment critic, retweeted a video Saturday morning of Liberal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland interviewing George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist who is often the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, in 2009 when Freeland was a journalist. Canadians should be “alarmed” by Freeland and Soros’ closeness, Findlay wrote in the since-deleted post.

“When I found out about it, the tweet was already down and Ms. Findlay had apologized for it,” O'Toole told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday when asked why he didn’t make a statement about the incident.

O'Toole didn’t answer when asked if he had spoken to Findlay about it. But he said he did call “some leaders from the Jewish community,” and said Conservatives under his leadership would continue to be strong advocates against anti-Semitism.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre retweeted Findlay’s post Saturday, but hasn’t commented publicly.

Findlay apologized in a followup tweet, but didn’t address her comments about Freeland and Soros. “Earlier today, I thoughtlessly shared content from what I am now learning is a source that promotes hateful conspiracy theories. I have removed the tweets and apologize to anyone who thinks I would want to endorse hateful rhetoric,” she wrote Saturday afternoon.

O’Toole announces house leadership team

On Wednesday, O’Toole announced his core parliamentary team, naming Manitoba MP Candice Bergen as the party’s deputy leader.

Bergen previously served as Conservative house leader, a pivotal role that leads the party’s day-to-day duties in the House of Commons. Quebec MP Gerard Deltell will replace Bergen in that role.

Meanwhile, MP Richard Martel will be O’Toole’s political lieutenant for Quebec.

“When I found out about it the tweet was already down," new Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole told reporters Wednesday.

O’Toole’s house leadership team also includes MPs from Alberta and Ontario, but none from British Columbia.

The new leader said his party is the “government in waiting,” echoing words uttered by former leader Andrew Scheer on election night in 2019, and said he's working on a new shadow cabinet and having discussions about writing a new platform.

“Conservatives are united and passionate to get to work,” O’Toole said.

Emma McIntosh / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada's National Observer

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This has been an ongoing issue with the CPC for a long time, it's not the first, it won't be the last time with anti-Semitism remarks. One observation with conservatives, racism/anti-Semitism seems to be part of their culture. I see it here in Canada and also in the USA.

The other annoying thing with the CPC is the underhanded attempts to discredit the opposition with twisted statements and fake scandals. Then we have CPC MPs who don't do the job they are elected for. We have Michelle Rempel Garner who has been hiding in the USA while being paid by Canadian tax payers during the pandemic. She should be in her riding than hiding in the USA.

Then we have annoying two faced MPs such as Pierre Poilievre whom has done questionable things himself and then showboats in parliament if an opposition MP does the same.

If O'Toole is serious about cleaning up the ongoing nonsense within the CPC, he has his work cut out.

It is time our politicians begin acting like professionals than the buffoons they have become. After all, they are there to serve Canadian interests and not their own.

I find your comment offensive, saying racism/Antisemitism is in the conservative culture. PM Harper and conservatives before him and after were supporters of Israel, and there was less problem of antisemitism then lately. This outright support can not be said of some of the Liberal governments, some of their MPs and some of their members.
It is interesting you point out only conservative members, but do not mention any other party members. Could it be you are biased in your observation? Since you like to be the champion of the Canadian people to call out those MPs who should be "acting like professionals than the buffoons they have become", Canadian tax payers have a right to the truth regarding all members of the government, not just those you seem to dislike, because they are conservative.

I would expect no less from the PCs on anti-semitism than from any other party. All parties must speak out vigorously against hatred and racism against all ethnicities.
To me the environment is paramount and the PCs will take Canada backwards. Look at the environmental damage Ford and Kenny are doing in their provinces.

Yes, I agree on both points. Environmental concerns have never been of no concern by the PCs historically. The PCs talk the environment talk but generally dismantle any gains achieve when in power. The PCs cater to big business that finds regulations a problem, that prevent them from plundering and pillaging the environment for personal gains. The abandoned wells in Albert are a total disgrace and an insult to taxpayers having to pay to have them cleaned up than the companies that drilled them in the first place. Totally mismanaged by the PCs.

Not generally dismantle, are dismantling In ON , AB and don't forget Harper's attack on environmental regs. Bill C38, plus change the NEB to make it political. Kenney is as busy as Trump in rolling back regs. Oil sands monitoring, gone, water quality assessment , gone , the protection of the Eastern Slopes, going going gone ! Let's mine coal!

New CPC leader has inherited a party with a major problem! Systemic racism. Conservative voters are much more likely to express these unacceptable views. It is disappointing to hear a Canadian MP say something so offensive in 2020! Living in Alberta, these type of tweets and thoughts are in the news weekly. O'Toole should be aware that Canadians, if anything,  are aware the CPC is beholden to big money & big oil. Convincing me and most Canadians that our Corporate elite, the 87 families having the equivalent wealth of 12 million Canadians vote liberal not conservative is a non starter. That won't fly.

As serious as the charge of anti-Semitism is, it has also been used to quash concerns for Palestinian rights, and movements such as the BDS movement, which calls for a boycott of Israeli good until the Palestinian issue is my opinion, the real problem that the right has with George Sorus, is precisely his progressive philanthropy. The dark money the Kochtopus has spent over the last 30 years to push America, and Canada to the right gets precious mention from our conservative party. The fact that Steven Harper sits on the board of an organization that promotes right wing movements around the world bothers us not at all...........

But having any truck with a genuinely progressive liberal billionaire is anti-Antisemitism in action??? Give me a freaking break. Only the right wing fanatic fringe peddles that garbage...and for some rather obvious reasons.

In dictionary language, Semite (derived from the name of biblical Noah's son Shem), means the peoples said in the Old Testament to have been his descendants: the Jewish, Arab, Assyrian and Phoenician peoples, and so includes Palestinians, Syrians, Iraquis Turks and Iranians. So ... a whole lot of the Muslim world.
I somehow wonder if he meant what he actually said. If so, it would be a refreshing change from what the uber-reicht (pardon the dumb punny spellng) generally mean.
Push come to shove, it's all about strategic location of military bases, of course. The US would hate to lose that "support" of Israel -- which doesn't really translate to the Canadian case, much as we've tended to meekly follow the demands of the US in terms of its geo-political druthers.
(PS: Love the term "Kochtopus"!!!!)

As a Harper cabinet minister, O’Toole was heir to the bigotry, intolerance and religious conservatism associated with the Western Reform movement (whence the Conservative Party of Canada was born) long before he became CPC leader. Although an Eastern MP representing the southern Ontario riding of Durham, and now leader of a party conspicuously bifurcated by the last election into equal Eastern and Western caucus factions, he is not in this sense a remnant of the Progressive Conservative Party: that could only have rested with his leadership rival and runner-up MacKay —and only with the grain of salt that MacKay was the last leader of the PCP before he betrayed his own members by flouting their express wish that he never join with the Reform-cum-Alliance party which had felled their venerable Tory party (MacKay destroying it once and for all by doing so in return for guaranteed cabinet portfolios in which he proved lacklustre, at best, or incompetent). Rather, O’Toole is one of the kinds of MP the CPC has always needed and still does if it ever expects to become government again: winners of Eastern seats in Ontario and Quebec—especially urban ridings there—and in Atlantic Canada.

Thus, as part of the Eastern caucus when the CPC was dominated by Westerners, O’Toole has to be familiar with perfunctory apologizing for bozo eruptions that still emanate from the Prairie right and are still emulated by some CPC leadership candidates in the East. Certainly he must recall Harper’s desperate and ultimately unsuccessful resort to bigotry with his niqab ploy during the 2015 election campaign; and doubtless he remembers the appalling display of racial prejudice during the subsequent leadership race to replace Harper—where a number of Eastern candidates appeared to be flattering Western members by most sincere imitations of their infamous intolerance: O’Toole was, after all, one of those candidates himself.

Having been bested in that race by Prairie MP Andrew Scheer and extremely close runner-up Quebec MP Maxime Bernier after an epic, thirteen-ballot contest, O’Toole has witnessed up close what the CPC Had on full display: almost exactly equal parts SoCons and Blue-Flame libertarians with overly generous portions of phobias, xeno-, homo-, and Islamic in flavour. Small relief that Bernier’s anti-immigrant rants garnered just a hair short of half the membership’s votes, much less that when he split from the CPC to form and run candidates for a new, even farther-right party, a seeming ever-ready supply of bigots keeps popping out of CPC ranks to replace him rather than examples of a party that wants to purge such odious millstones from around its neck.

It can’t be lost on O’Toole that gaining the affections of Eastern Canadians has been a fundamental challenge for the Western jingoists from the get-go. Reform leader Preston Manning’s Quebec-baiting is not forgotten in La Belle Province: even at the CPC zenith in 2011 (when it won its sole majority), Harper only won 7% of Quebec seats, and of course Harper’s hopes for a popular lieutenant in Bernier to elevate the party’s Quebec profile was a catastrophe ( Minister Bernier left classified documents at the home of a biker-gang associate whom he was dating, but went on to split votes from the CPC in 2019 when, after losing a close-run leadership race, he petulantly ran a renegade party against it). Peter MacKay, another son of a former PC MP, was supposed to improve party prospects on the East Coast, arguably With some modest success, despite his own poor performance and Harper souring Maritimers’ affections by characterizing them as a “culture of defeat”: over four elections from 2004 to 2011, the CPC went from 22% of Atlantic seats to 43%. Pundits make what they will of the fact that when MacKay coyly eschewed running in the fatal 2015 election, the CPC was totally skunked in the Atlantic region. And although Scheer’s CPC made some gains in all three Eastern regions in 2019, support remains tepid in Quebec and points east and, as generally across Canada, is concentrated in rural-agriculture areas—which means the party has again failed to make inroads into culturally diverse, vote-rich cities in Ontario, the enduring bastions of the Liberal and New Democrat parties without which the CPC cannot easily win power.

The jury’s still out as to whether O’Toole made nice with Western SoCons for purely tactical reasons to overcome MacKay’s hitherto front runner position, or to strategically quell growing nostalgia for old-style Tory conservatism that the electoral map might show exists in the East. The dearth of Western leadership candidates probably hadn’t gone unnoticed, either. Like any party leader, O’Toole would be remiss not to cultivate a sturdier bridge between two, apparently gathering factions in order to head off a schism that would render the party’s national aspirations moot. At very least we can ascertain that O’Toole intends to pursue power with Westerners in tow rather than purging or relegating the once-dominant faction to backbench acquiescence in order to win the affections of generally more moderate Eastern voters.

O’Toole looks a damn sight smarter than MacKay (who was dumb enough to think his lame unity-inclusiveness platform could impress Westerners who consider such sentiments weak, to put it mildly). But how smart does one have to be to, on one hand, allay Eastern Canadians’ suspicion of Western exceptionalism—hitherto synonymous with the CPC— and, on the other hand, reward Western SoCons to whom the new CPC leader owes his victory? It can’t help that since the CPC failed to win power last year, its electorally purified and peeved heartland has rather become more intolerant and buffaloed further right than ever before while its provincial political voices (largely synonymous with the CPC, Albetar’s premier being none other than former senior HarperCon minister Jason KeKangaroo Kenney) push ultra-partisan rhetoric to the level of tRump-like absurdism—itself disturbing to most Canadians as they observe mounting social and political tumult brewing in election-campaigning America and are likely to make the easy parallel.

O’Toole’s rewarding liaison with Western SoCons was a backroom matter, but his first order after winning the leadership race was to overtly wave flags of conciliation and inclusiveness which, to even the casual observer, seemed to contradict typically intolerant SoCons to whom, now, he presumably owes a political debt. I think his rhetorical device was indicative of what we can expect: as he explained that he wanted more Canadians to see a conservative when they look in the mirror, and that he’s going to work hard to make typically non-conservative voters more welcome in the party, he nevertheless summed up that winning power is his primary goal (rather than developing constructively contributive policy in any event, and letting voters decide), and concluded with a telling slogan (‘slogan’ means ‘war-cry’ in Gaelic)—“Take Back Canada”, a rather retrogressive-sounding paean that seemed more aimed at the converted rather than the proselytes he invites to like the infamously intolerant party.

I, for one, heard faint tones of dog-whistle in this performance. It reminds of Preston Manning’s sage advice, long ago, to supporters prone to intolerant bozo-eruptions as he plotted to tear progressive conservatism apart: you can think what you believe, just don’t say it out loud until we win power. In other words, in order to win, it’s important to look inclusive and reasonable—even though it’s intolerable to self-righteous True Believers. Harper made the same bid to SoCon MPs: keep it zipped on the back-benches so’s not to scare away moderate voters— until we win a majority. Therein was a whiff in O’Toole’s victory speech that immigrant, LGBTQ, unionized workers and other traditionally more liberal Canadians whom he invites into the CPC might find that condition—“until we win”—a little suspicious, especially when “Take Back Canada” begs the questions: from whom?—and why? —and what then?...

The tell, at very least, reminds that O’Toole is a dyed in the wool HarperCon whose appeal to traditional Tories and non-Tories alike might just be as insincere as it would have to be in order to meet his primary goal of winning power. Also telling was that the only reason he gave for pursuing such an absolute objective was to mend Canada’s diplomatic reputation. Given that it’s news to most Canadians that our reputation in the world has been anything but improved since the HarperCons were ousted two elections ago, we —including every kind of Canadian O’Toole butters up—have to wonder what, exactly, he has in mind once the goal has been achieved.

We’ve been through this before and should therefore be very wary of O’Toole, undisputed leader of the CPC—and undeniable vessel of CPC traits not-so-nice as a happy, chucking Mr Potato-Head.

I do not know if Ms Findley has ever had the privilege of meeting Mr. Soros but if she has, she is a very poor judge of character and her muckraking tweet casts considerable doubt on her qualifications as an officer of the court.

Some MP's, perhaps especially as they age, become desperate to make a "name" for themselves. If that was Ms Findley's intention she will now have a larger hurdle to overcome if she seeks a reputation for probity and intelligence.

We see this sort of thing again and again from the ranks of this far right trash can that has replaced the once Progressive Conservative party of Canada. A member let's slip their racist, xenophobic tongue, followed (sometimes) by a hastiy scripted apology and a statement assuring the party faithful that this sort of thing does not represent the party. But when we keep seeing this kind of crap bobbing up, don't you think it's time to get out of the pool?

George Soros: billionaire financier who crashed the Bank of England, who has a political agenda (donated $32B to his Open Society Foundation), who had no moral difficulties pretending to be a Christian and going through and emptying the homes of Hungarian Jews who had been carted off by the Nazis (his own words).

Christia Freeland: Canada's unqualified Deputy PM and Finance Minister, who's granddad was a Nazi propagandist running a Polish newspaper stolen from a Jewish family until the advancing Russians forced him to retreat to Austria.

And you would have us believe that concern over their close relationship is anti-Semitic?

Another poster claiming the Soros conspiracy. Yawn...

And what does Freeland's grandfather have to do with her high qualifications to do her job? Your post proves the point of the article, ironically enough.