Saskatchewan Senator Denise Batters was expelled from the federal Conservative caucus last night, following her launch of a petition demanding a leadership review of Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole.
“Erin O’Toole tried to silence me for giving our #CPC members a voice,” wrote Batters in a tweet. “I will not be silenced by a leader so weak he fired me VIA VOICEMAIL.”
In an official statement released today, Batters addressed her expulsion from caucus and criticized O'Toole's leadership.
"Seemingly, Mr O'Toole cannot 'tolerate' criticism," Batters wrote. "After the election, I raised my concerns with Mr. O'Toole directly. He did not respond and he did not act. I then asked publicly that our members have a voice. His response is now to kick me out."
Batters continued: "If Mr. O'Toole is certain that the members of our party support the new direction in which he is taking our party, he should have nothing to fear by facing our members democratically in an expedited confidence vote. That he is fighting against this with threats and intimidation to Caucus speaks volumes."
Batters’ ejection from caucus was announced by Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole in a statement yesterday evening:
“Senator Batters has been removed from the Conservative national caucus,” O'Toole said. “As leader of the Conservative Party of Canada I will not tolerate an individual discrediting and showing a clear lack of respect towards the efforts of the entire Conservative caucus.”
“Just eight weeks ago Canadians elected Conservatives to hold Justin Trudeau accountable,” wrote O’Toole, adding: “That is our focus as a team.”
Senator Batters on Monday launched a petition calling for an expedited party leadership review:
“I’ve been a Conservative my whole life,” Batters said in a video message to party members. “On behalf of Conservative activists and members from coast to coast, we started this petition because we don’t want to see this party ripped apart again.”
Under Conservative Party rules, members are entitled to consider a leadership review by secret ballot at the next national convention, which in this case is a Québec City conference scheduled for 2023. Senator Batters’ petition calls for a review within six months.
"O’Toole won the leadership race claiming to be a 'true blue' Conservative, but ran an election campaign nearly indistinguishable from Trudeau’s Liberals. Conservatives and Canadians can’t afford more of the same," Batters says in her petition.
"As Leader, O’Toole has watered down and even entirely reversed policy positions without the input of party or caucus members. On the carbon tax, on firearms, on conscience rights — he has contradicted positions within the same week, the same day, and even within the same sentence!"
Batters concludes: "Because Erin O'Toole turned his back on conservative principles, lost the election, and cannot win the next one, Conservatives must take action now!"