Senator Bob Runciman has announced support for Durham MP Erin O’Toole as the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
In a statement, Runciman said, “Erin has all the qualities and experience we need in a Prime Minister. He spent 10 years in the armed forces, he practiced corporate law and he was an outstanding Minister of Veteran’s Affairs. He’s a good listener, a quick study, and a steady hand.”
The statement notes that Runciman served 29 years as an Ontario MPP, spending nearly 10 years in cabinet under three different premiers, serving as House Leader for several years, was Leader of the Opposition on two separate occasions, and was interim leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. He notes that he spent 15 years as a caucus-mate with O’Toole’s father, John.
“John O’Toole was an outstanding MPP and a really decent man,” Runciman said. “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Erin understands the sacrifices of public service, because he watched his father serve the riding of Durham for nearly 20 years.”
Runciman said he is attracted to O’Toole’s strong focus on national security and justice issues. Justice issues are a particular focus for Runciman, who has chaired the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee for five years, and spent several years as Ontario’s Solicitor General.
“The most fundamental responsibility of government is to keep its citizens safe, to deal with threats from both abroad and within,” Runciman said. “Erin O’Toole understands that better than anyone else in this leadership race, and certainly better than Justin Trudeau.”
Aside from his policy positions, O’Toole is simply the right person for the job, Runciman said.
“Erin can speak to Canadians in both official languages, he understands the country and he knows the challenges people face in their daily lives. He has the ability to unite not just Conservatives, but Canadians in general. I’m proud to support him.”