Skeena — Bulkley Valley politicians react to new Conservative Party leader

Skeena — Bulkley Valley politicians react to new Conservative Party leader

Erin O’Toole was elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada Aug. 24, 2020

The Conservative candidate for the Skeena — Bulkley Valley riding in last fall’s federal election says she’s enthusiastic about her party’s new leader.

“I think Erin [O’Toole] deserves it, he worked really hard and I’m excited to get behind him,” said Claire Rattée following O’Toole’s third ballot win Aug. 24.

“The biggest takeaway for me is just seeing our numbers and our membership growing, I’m really happy with the results because I think that Erin has given really good speeches already and it seems like we are gaining a lot of momentum.”

O’Toole, a cabinet minister in the former Stephen Harper government, secured his victory in the Conservative leadership race after three rounds of counting. Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay finished second, followed by Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan, who were running with the support of social conservatives.

His success in the election is due in part to the ranked ballot system. O’Toole courted supporters of Lewis and Sloan, who selected him as their second or third choice more than they did MacKay.

Now that the leadership race is over, Conservatives are looking to the future, which could include a federal election as early as this fall.

“I will be ready whenever there is one, I can’t wait to get back at it,” said Rattée in confirming she’ll seek her party’s nomination for the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding whenever the next election is called.

“We definitely managed to grow the base here for Conservatives, it was the best showing a Conservative has had in this riding in a very long time so I’m hopeful.”

Rattée has not met O’Toole yet, but she is encouraged by what she has seen from his first few days on the job.

“I know there was a couple of speeches he’s given already where he actually mentioned Kitimat specifically, talking about the aluminum and LNG projects and things of that nature so I do know that he is really passionate about fighting for our resource industry and I know that he’s going to be paying a lot of attention to our region.”

The minority-government Liberals will deliver a throne speech on Sept. 23. After the throne speech is given there will be a mandatory confidence vote in the House of Commons, where opposition parties could vote to bring down the government and trigger an election.

Taylor Bachrach, the NDP Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley who defeated Rattée last fall, followed the Conservative leadership race from the outside.

“I think it’s a very interesting pick for the Conservative Party,” he said.

“He’s someone who ran in the last Conservative leadership race, and in that race he presented himself as an affable moderate. In this most recent race he put on a much more hard-edged conservative persona, so it will be interesting to see which Erin O’Toole shows up in the House of Commons when we come back, and also it will be interesting to see how beholden he turns out to be to the social conservative faction in the Conservative Party.”

The leadership election results were expected early in the evening of Aug. 23 but were delayed into the early hours of Aug. 24 after problems opening the envelopes containing several thousand of the estimated 175,000 mail-in ballots.

While O’Toole ended the night as the new party leader, Leslyn Lewis, a Toronto lawyer who has never held public office won the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding with 34 per cent of the vote.

“Definitely I’m proud to see how well she did and I’m proud to hear she’s going to be running in the next election for a seat, she did a really good job, she’s a really intelligent woman and we’d be lucky to have her on our team,” said Rattée.

Rattée said that Lewis, who is a Black woman, made a statement to those outside the party with her success.

“There’s definitely been a lot of narrative about conservatives being just older white men and so I think that shows that we really are ready to embrace that change and show the rest of the world and other parties that we are not that stereotype, regardless of what that narrative might have been put by the media or put by other parties.”

With files from the Canadian Press

READ MORE: Jagmeet Singh stresses the importance of childcare during Terrace visit


@BenBogstie
ben.bogstie@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

That’s Houston physician Dr. Stefanie Steel receiving her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 19, 2021 from RN nurse manager Cindy Cockle. (Northern Health photo)
First Houston vaccinations take place

Long term care residents, health care workers on list

This BC Hydro map shows some of the power outages across Northern BC. Many were caused by high winds. (BC Hydro Website)
Power out across much of Northern BC

BC Hydro anticipates some may be without power overnight

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

COVID-19 exposure reported at Houston Secondary. (Houston Today photo)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Houston Secondary School

Self-monitoring for symptoms encouraged

Silverthorne Elementary School
Students staying at home would not receive special treatment

Know that our schools are safe and clean. We are very diligent in our COVID protocols.

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
One in five tests in Fernie area coming back positive: doctor

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
From the “You can’t make this stuff up” file – stories from the BC CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Most Read