Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said among the findings of a new report highlighting the party’s 2021 election campaign missteps were ‘too scripted’ in the final days and communication with stationed voters in a television studio proved ineffective.
The Conservative caucus was briefed Thursday on the review, which was led by former Alberta MP James Cumming.
According to Cumming, he looked at everything from party infrastructure to leader performance. Over 400 people were interviewed, including candidates, campaign managers, riding associations, party members, activists and others.
“[The] review of what went right, what went wrong, and his recommendations – some of them pertain to me. Leadership starts at the top. There were areas where I fell short, especially over the last 10 days,” O’Toole said.
“I received comments that in the last week of the campaign I seemed too scripted.”
O’Toole leaned heavily on communicating with constituents for most of the five-week period, answering questions and making announcements from his Ottawa-based studio where he hosted 17 “teleconferences.”
“The studio prevented me from meeting more Canadians. We were told we should have done more events,” he said.
“I want to go out and meet more Canadians in person, not in a studio or on Zoom, so I’m as frustrated as so many Canadians working from home, working virtually.”
The Conservatives failed to increase their seat count in 2021 and lost votes in key western constituencies where support is generally stable. This decline in popularity was attributed, in part, to the rise of the People’s Party of Canada and diverted efforts from trying to win over voters in urban centers.
A source with direct knowledge of the exam told CTV News earlier today that the need to recruit more diverse candidates was seen as a priority, along with more effective outreach to ethnic communities.
“The party needs to do a better job of communicating with communities in their native language and using the platforms and mediums those communities use, in a culturally appropriate way,” the source said.
The source also said infighting in two leadership races in less than five years has resulted in a loss of confidence among voters.
“[Voters] cannot trust a political party to govern if it cannot govern itself and voters fear that these infighting will lead to key policy shifts on the economy and social issues,” said The source.
O’Toole said there was a commitment to make changes to reflect the listed concerns.
“The intention here is to make changes. Myself as a leader, I am responsible for the loss and I want to ensure that we gain the confidence of more Canadians, so I will bring some Changes myself, to our team, to our strategy, and within our party, our MPs and our whole party structure will be part of that change,” he said.
Cumming told CTV News Channel’s Power Play on Thursday that going forward, the party needed to be firm in its stance on more polarizing issues such as the price of carbon.
“The party must be decisive, must be very clear about what it stands for and its vision for the future,” he said.
When asked if O’Toole was included in that view, based on the report’s sentiment, Cumming said a large majority of attendees were “supportive” of his performance in the campaign but “not entirely satisfied with the performance.” results “.
The release of the report comes at a time when O’Toole is facing challenges to his leadership, including calls from three electoral district associations to hold an early vote on who should lead the party in the upcoming election.