The Canadian Trucker Protest Claims Its First Political Casualty... the Conservative Opposition Leader

Canadian truck heading to an off-ramp from Trucker Convoy 2022, screenshot. Credit: @Phyxx/Twitter

The Great White North is making for some damn good political watching, and it looks like it is not letting up anytime soon. The Canadian Trucker Protest, which rolled into the nation’s capital of Ottawa last weekend, is still going strong and has claimed its first political scalp.

Unfortunately, it was not the Prime Minister whose government has caused all of this angst, but the leader of the opposition to Trudeau’s government, Conservative MP Erin O’Toole.

From the National Post

Erin O’Toole was ousted from the party’s top job, leaving his former deputy Candice Bergen to helm a divided caucus until its members elect a new leader with a new direction.

The Manitoba MP, who served as a minister of state in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, was chosen by her colleagues Wednesday evening.

Bergen, who was deputy leader of the Conservatives under O’Toole, has represented the riding of Portage–Lisgar since 2008 and was Opposition House leader from 2016 to 2020.

This will be the third leadership race since former prime minister Stephen Harper stepped down after losing to the Liberals in the 2015 election.

Conservative MP Scott Reid, the chair of the national caucus, says Bergen was one of nine candidates for interim leader.

Canadian journalist Andrew Lawton was one of the first to report this breaking news Wednesday, after the vote to remove O’Toole occurred.

Last week, before the weekend peaceful protest in Ottawa, Andrew and I talked on my WAAM podcast about what O’Toole had done leading up to the trucks rolling into the nation’s capital (listen to it right here).

From what I could tell, the leader of the conservative party seemed to hesitate; he saw how big this movement was, and was more afraid that Canada was about ready to have its own Jan 6th. That seems to ultimately have cost O’Toole his job as the leader of the opposition party to the Trudeau government.

Erin O’Toole was also the Conservatives’ leader in the last national election, back in September of 2021, and it is not unusual for a leader who just lost a national election to lose the leadership spot right after. However, he seemed to be in a safe spot for the moment. That, is until the Trudeau trucker/cross-border vax mandate was instituted for all truckers crossing back into Canada on January 15th.

Now, that protests are spreading, from truckers to what seem to be just everyday average Canadians who are sick of any and all mandates being instituted, it would seem to be the perfect time for a change at the top of the largest opposition party to Justin Trudeau’s government. The party still has to elect a new leader, being Bergan is just the interim leader, and that vote should take place quickly — to take advantage of what is happening on the ground.

The energy in the country clearly seems to be behind those who are willing to protest the overreach of the Canadian federal government; it truly has been a marvel to watch from this side of the border.

While Prime Minister Trudeau hides recovers from COVID, his fellow countrymen have gathered in the  capital and in other provinces throughout that big, beautiful country, and I have not seen any reports of violence or arrests. In the same way that O’Toole, the former leader of the Conservative Party, misread what was happening in the country, it could be very possible that Trudeau is doing the same exact thing.

So far, he has doubled down on the rhetoric that the protestors are just a small minority of his country, and that he and his party will not pay any attention to them.

In my conversation with Lawton about the possibility of Trudeau being replaced, Andrew did not think that was on the table last week. But a lot has changed since last Wednesday until this Thursday.

Maybe the truckers are revving up to get another political hide.