Sask. political expert not surprised by Sen. Batters' removal by O'Toole
A Saskatchewan political expert is not surprised by Sen. Denise Batters' removal from the Conservative Party caucus.
The Saskatchewan senator launched a petition calling for a review of Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole’s leadership before the scheduled confidence vote in 2023. Erin O'Toole kicked Batters out of the caucus Tuesday.
“One of the realities of Canadian party politics is leaders run the show and so when you challenge the ‘king’ as it were, you get booted,” Jim Farney said.
He said it’s common to see leaders kick members out over principal issues, but not necessarily in leadership challenges.
In an official statement posted on Batters’ Twitter on Wednesday, she said O’Toole’s move to expel her from the caucus is ironic.
“I started a petition, as any member of the Conservative Party may do under our party’s constitution,” she said. “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.”
The Conservative MP for Regina-Wascana said in the spirit of national unity, he will not sign Batters’ petition.
“There is a process in place for reviewing leadership of a party, and for myself, I don’t see any reason to deviate from that process,” Michael Kram said.
But Farney thinks it’s fair to suspect that Batters is acting as the voice of other members inside the party.
“I think she’s the voice of a broader national splinter in the party,” Farney said. “This is a story that’s unfolding pretty quickly. It may turn out that there is some sort of Saskatchewan group that’s particularly unhappy with O’Toole or a prairie group.”
He said it will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the coming days.
“I think given the Reform Act and rules around who gets to stay in caucus, what we’re likely to see is a quiet drip, drip, drip inside the party with these occasional eruptions,” Farney said.
“The really interesting story and reporting is what’s the state of play inside? What are people talking about inside? We just haven’t seen much of that yet.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, O’Toole said the decision to remove Batters from the party was not easy. While heading into parliament he said all members need to be focused on the Tories’ key topics including monthly inflation rates, national unity and overcoming the pandemic.
“You don't want to make that decision, but really she made it for herself,” O’Toole said Wednesday, on his way into a caucus meeting focused on preparing for the return of Parliament.
“We have to have all members of the team focused at that, and it was a necessary decision to make for the well-being of our caucus, of our Parliament, and of the country,” he said.
Regina Top Stories