Erin O'Toole makes play for the union vote with the "Canada First" campaign

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Mighty Middle
Erin O'Toole makes play for the union vote with the "Canada First" campaign

This is exactly the same play Donald Trump did to win working class Union voters in Rust-Belt States with "Make America Great" and saying NAFTA caused job losses

Erin O'Toole has a slogan "Canada First" saying the new NAFTA deal (USMCA) screwed Canada over, causing jobs to disappear.

Bad trade deals, global corporations and well-connected elites, has screwed over Working Class Canadians says Erin O'Toole

If I didn't know any better that sounds like something the NDP would say!

So will this message resonate with Union voters for them to switch from the NDP to the Conservatives? Because that is Erin O'Toole game plan.

Pondering

I doubt it. Most people think Trudeau did the best that could be done with Trump as president. I don't see that the Conservatives would do any better. We can't have a trade war with the US.

Whatever recovery plans Conservatives put forth won't touch what the Liberals will present on September 23rd because Conservative ideology has no solutions for this sort of situation. 

Conservatives have nothing to offer the unions.  That kind of rhetoric may work on the prairies but it doesn't resonate anywhere else. What's important is the solution being proposed. I'm pretty sure it won't resemble anything like what the NDP will propose.

Policy matters. Is O'Toole going to renegotiate trade deals? Unions are going to want more than buzz words.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

This is the second time this week that I've linked to a video by David Doel. He does a good job dismantling O'Toole's claim to be on the side of the workers.

NDPP

As is painfully obvious no Canadian parliamentary party is on the side of the workers. They are all on the side of capitalism. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news yet again but perhaps it's long past time to face certain manifest realities about such things, as the whole broken shitty edifice of  'democracy' comes crashing down around around our ears.

'Something is taking its course...' - Beckett -

josh

He doesn't utter the word union once.

Mighty Middle

josh wrote:

He doesn't utter the word union once.

In a previous press conference he said he welcomes all "Unifor" to join us - adding he doesn't expect Jerry Dias to join, but if Dias changes his mind he'd welcome Dias into the Conservativce fold.

Mobo2000

I have a bad feeling about this.   I think this is the play to make for the Conservatives, they will have success if they get their messaging right.   Plenty of union members who aren't political or are outright conservative, if O'Toole can competantly talk out of both sides of his mouth they'll pick up some votes.    All he has to do is say "Give workers a seat at the table" without laughing, and he's gold.

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/the-unlikeliest-of-unions-conserv...

"And in that vein, new Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has been striking a distinctly different tone since taking control of the party last month, with overtures to Canadian workers and a promise of an economic plan that will put them ahead of “corporate and financial power brokers.  The movement reflects a global shift among conservative parties as they try to vacuum up working class votes left behind by progressive parties that increasingly target educated urban voters. The trend is most obvious in the United Kingdom where Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won a majority government by smashing the “red wall” of historically working class Labour seats.  Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency has also sparked an economic re-think among conservatives in the United States who are trying to translate his appeal into a conventional policy document. On Labour Day, a group of right-leaning U.S. intellectuals released an open letter encouraging conservatives to park their suspicion of unions and give workers “a seat at the table.”

“In a well-functioning and competitive market, participants meet as equals able to advance their interests through mutually beneficial relationships,” the letter reads. Without robust unions, they argue, this relationship fractures.

“Rather than cheer the demise of a once-valuable institution, conservatives should seek reform and reinvigoration of the laws that govern organizing and collective bargaining,” the letter reads."

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I'm fucked. Unfortunately thousands others are in the same boat. This is shitty news.He's trying to appeal to everyone. When he talks taxes he means tax cuts. Tax cuts that would make union workers a couple of bucks. Non union workers are  going to get nothing and those out of work (EI SS and disability) are going to pay for these goodies that aim at people's wallets, which is great. His social conservatism worries me that with this ' Canada First' horseshit importing the political climate and policies as that in the US.

Yay. Good Times.This guy is a Trumpist. He is going to destroy this country exactly like the Orange Hitler did (and continues as we speak) to his.

Fun fun fun.

jerrym

This is a play not only for NDP voters but for Liberal union voters as well. After all Liberal victories, for example, in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, where the NDP is lucky to win one seat, are partly dependent on the civil service union members.

There are already union members who vote Conservative. One example is Doug Ford's appeal to some union members so there is a potential threat. However, O'Toole must appeal to union members from a somewhat different manner because his persona is different.  

While the media has played up O'Toole's military past and his father's connections to Oshawa and the auto industry, they rarely mention his career as a corporate lawyer. I think a review of O'Toole's record as a corporate lawyer could be quite revealing as to how sympathetic he is to union and workers issues, which  I suspect is a strong understatement. 

O'Toole graduated from Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University with a law degree in 2003,[7] and returned to Ontario. He articled at and later became a lawyer with Stikeman Elliott, a business law firm in Toronto.[8] During this time, O'Toole primarily practiced corporate law, insolvency matters, and energy regulation.

Between 2006 and 2011, O'Toole served as Canadian in-house counsel for Procter & Gamble.[9] He acted as corporate counsel for the Gillette healthcare, beauty, and paper business groups, provided commercial and regulatory law advice, and was counsel on issues relating to legislation and anti-counterfeiting operations in Canada.

In 2011, O'Toole joined the law firm Heenan Blaikie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_O%27Toole

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..more and more unions, over many years, moved away from shop floor activism and into the back rooms. they became part of corporate planning.

..this lead to an entrenched bureaucratic leadership that even when corporations became more powerful and regressive towards workers, the unions sold off labour peace for crumbs instead of returning to the militancy that created them in the first place.

..dias is very much a part of that bureaucratic ilk. watched him move in ontario liberal circles when they were in power, trying to sell labour peace when everyone knew workers had been pacified/prevented from acting by the union leadership. 

Mighty Middle

jerrym wrote:

This is a play not only for NDP voters but for Liberal union voters as well. After all Liberal victories, for example, in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, where the NDP is lucky to win one seat, are partly dependent on the civil service union members.

For sure O'Toole is going after Liberal voters, not only is he using Trump playbook, but Doug Ford's as well - where Ford tried to appeal to voters from all parties

The only problem is that O'Toole was part of the Harper government who demonized the public civil service, and those members have long memories of the Harper years. I don't think they will be fooled.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

The USMCA is a wretched neoliberal corporate rights deal, and should be opposed. Just because Erin O'Toole is criticizing it doesn't mean that we should stay silent on the matter -- or worse, give the impression that we actually support the USMCA.

Neoliberal corporate globalization and the race to the bottom that it entails in no alternative to far-right nativist xenophobia.

Pondering

Oh my gosh.  The next election, which we don't have a date for, will be decided in the last weeks but the Conservatives will shoot themselves in the foot many times before that. Policy matters not pretty words. That is why even soaked in scandal the Liberals are still well ahead. 

O'Tooles pretty words about workers are all about oil workers. We are back to the theory of funding the green transition through oil and gas. The oil industry already has it's hand out threatening to cancel projects if it doesn't get covid money. I hope they don't but the Liberals will probably give them something. Whether they do or they don't Canada did not want to buy Trans Mountain. If the oil industry is so profitable it doesn't need subsidies. Whether the Liberals do more or not Canadians are not going to be swayed by Alberta bleating "but western alienation"

O'Toole is talking about "the radical left" and a "culture war" and the country being divided. Newsflash. The culture war is over in Canada the left won. It isn't radical to be against growing the oil industry with government money. Canada is not "divided" just because Alberta is disgruntled. Alberta has to deal like the rest of the provinces. No special snowflakes anymore including Quebec.

Canada already exports more energy than we consume so I would say we are already energy independent.  Sounds like code words for Energy East. Maybe he thinks they have forced through TT and can do the same to Quebec but that is not happening. In Quebec separatism would rise high enough to threaten the union.

Does anyone doubt that September 23rd will include a new social program or maybe even two?

Conservatives are singing the same ol song. Covid has accelerated what was already happening so it is happening like a shock instead of slowly enough to get past people's guard. We are going to have depression era homeless without a lot of government help. The entire tourist season has been lost which is a major season for many stores. Not everyone will be going back to the office as both companies and workers have discovered working from home has major perks. Downtown office buildings are not going to refill to what they were before. People aren't buying office clothing or coffee in the morning or lunches or going for happy hour or picking up take-out on the way home. Universities are doing much more online. Between one thing and another transit use is way down. Christmas spending is going to be way down. A lot of jobs aren't coming back for years. Downtowns are going to be permanently altered for the better over the long run.

Funding a green transition and home construction provides many more jobs across the country than funding the oil industry. There seems to be support for funding clean up of orphan wells. Trudeau may do something more but people are not happy about owning TT so I wouldn't hope for too much more.

Folks, we got nothing to fear from the Conservatives. How do you think Kenny's solutions will impact Alberta? He can blame it on Covid and insufficient federal aid but he is the one stuck on cutting taxes and services as his solution. Canada is not going to look at that mess and envy it. B.C. may not be perfect but it is looking pretty good from the rest of the country.

Either the Liberals will get another majority or it will be a minority with the NDP holding the balance of power, too soon to say which. Place your bets.

Pondering

Left Turn wrote:

The USMCA is a wretched neoliberal corporate rights deal, and should be opposed. Just because Erin O'Toole is criticizing it doesn't mean that we should stay silent on the matter -- or worse, give the impression that we actually support the USMCA.

Neoliberal corporate globalization and the race to the bottom that it entails in no alternative to far-right nativist xenophobia.

No we should ignore it as much as possible because there is absolutely nothing we can do about it now. The trade deals are signed and in the best of times it is hard to drum up enough resistence to make more than a squeak. If we try to push progressiveness on everything all the time we become a dull drone and lose the war. The enemy of our enemy is not our friend.

For whatever reason the general public has an attention span of a gnat. That is why politician have slogans like "the middle class and those trying to join it". We are paying attention so it makes us want to gag to hear politicians repeating themselves over and over and over and over to the point where we feel we have their list of key points memorized. The politicians are trying to get through to the gnats. The left wants the gnats to sit down and learn and so they will understand why the left is right and the right is wrong.

Mighty Middle

Left Turn wrote:

The USMCA is a wretched neoliberal corporate rights deal, and should be opposed. Just because Erin O'Toole is criticizing it doesn't mean that we should stay silent on the matter -- or worse, give the impression that we actually support the USMCA.

Neoliberal corporate globalization and the race to the bottom that it entails in no alternative to far-right nativist xenophobia.

O'Toole is being dishonest in being critical of USMCA - and just doing this to poach votes, NOT to stand up against neoliberal corporate rights deal.

kropotkin1951

The majority of union members do not vote for the NDP and that has always been the case. The first NDP convention I went to in 1972 the leaders of the Steelworkers and UAW were on the convention floor directing their members votes and they were card carrying members of the Liberal party.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

Left Turn wrote:

The USMCA is a wretched neoliberal corporate rights deal, and should be opposed. Just because Erin O'Toole is criticizing it doesn't mean that we should stay silent on the matter -- or worse, give the impression that we actually support the USMCA.

Neoliberal corporate globalization and the race to the bottom that it entails in no alternative to far-right nativist xenophobia.

O'Toole is being dishonest in being critical of USMCA - and just doing this to poach votes, NOT to stand up against neoliberal corporate rights deal.

I know full well that O'Toole is being dishonest in his criticism of the USMCA. However, I've come across people online (both on babble and elsewhere) who argue that even the slightest whiff of protectionism puts people in the racist-xenophobic anti-immigrant camp. It doesn't.

It's not in the interest of working people for Canada to be governed by trade deals that prevent the government from nationalizing industries; and that don't allow for regulating and/or banning the import of products that we decide are detrimental to the health and wellbing of Canadians.

Aristotleded24

This is exactly why I've been arguing that the NDP needs to take on these trade agreements wholeheartedly. Think about what Conservatives care about. Loyalty. Patriotism. Love of one's country. Look at how many on the right have criticzed globalism, and have anti-China rhetoric. This is a perfect way for the NDP to flip the script on the Conservatives. The Conservatives say they will stand up for Canada? They were for these disatrous trade agreements. The NDP is against these trade agreements. The NDP wants Canadians to have a say over the laws in Canada and not give a tribunal in Brussels or Washington the final say. It's the Conservatives who are the real globalists. The NDP are the patriots. O'Toole wants to get tough on China? He sat in a Conservative government that implemented FIPA, while the NDP voted against it. The NDP isn't going to win by going on about its own issue or trying to tell people outside the core NDP fold what issues they should or shouldn't care about. They need to do better meeting voters where they are and convincing them. Taking on free trade is a perfect way to do this, and by framing it in the manner I described, they will take a big chunk of the Conservative vote. Furthermore, since the left in Canada is already against free trade (and in many cases unsatisfied with the federal NDP response to this matter) it's a perfect way to reframe the debate and bring in more voters without compromising on any of its core values.

Mighty Middle

Erin O'Toole was on TVO The Agenda and when Jagmeet Singh sided with the rail blocakades, he was turning his back on workers.

Pondering

Taking on free trade will just give the Liberals a perfect weapon to beat the NDP with. It will just leave people confused and uncertain and it isn't central to the main financial problem we are facing which is insufficient taxation of the wealthy.

contrarianna

"Canada First"? Laughable empty rhetoric out of the mouths of any Canadian politician looking to become "leader" in this US and corporate colony.
The default position is that of the Liberals, doubled-down on by the colonial administration's Virtual Prime Minister Freeland, is "America First".

The US embassy in Ottawa boasted in a March 2017 memo, “Canada Adopts ‘America First’ Foreign Policy,” just after PM Trudeau appointed hard-line hawk Chrystia Freeland as foreign minister.

....The cable was authored just weeks after the centrist government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Chrystia Freeland as foreign minister. The former editor of the major international news agency Reuters, Freeland has pushed for aggressive policies against states targeted by Washington for regime change, including Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Syria, and Iran.

The State Department added that Trudeau had promoted Freeland “in large part because of her strong U.S. contacts,” and that her “number one priority” was working closely with Washington....

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/07/05/canada-adopts-america-first-foreign-p...

melovesproles

The pandemic has made it very clear that free trade has left Canada extremely vulnerable to global crises and breakdowns in supply chains. Obviously the Conservatives shouldn't have any credibility on economic nationalism with their record but as the Liberals have shown time and time again: a political party's record is far less important than how they can market themselves to the Canadian public.

O'Toole seems a lot smarter than Scheer so far. The Liberal party is not as safe as Pondering thinks. See the last election where their percentage of the popular vote collapsed alongside their one term of majority rule. Not exactly a powerhouse performance. And that was before the WE scandal reinforced the perception that they are corrupt and out of touch.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

melovesproles wrote:

O'Toole seems a lot smarter than Scheer so far. The Liberal party is not as safe as Pondering thinks. See the last election where their percentage of the popular vote collapsed alongside their one term of majority rule. Not exactly a powerhouse performance. And that was before the WE scandal reinforced the perception that they are corrupt and out of touch.

I don't know how much smarter he is, but O'Toole certainly presents as more serious and Prime Ministerial than Scheer. I think it was bekayne who called Scheer "Andy Pandy", and that was about how serious he appeared to most people. There won't be any similar joke about O'Toole (or if there is, it won't gain any traction), who will have to be fought on the issues rather than personal presentation. Considering the weakness of the Liberals on many issues, combined with the increasing odour of corruption, he could well become PM.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I agree. O'Toole does not come off as inconsequential as Scheer or as aloof and hardlined as Harper. To dismiss him as not a political threat in the next election would be stupid on the part of the other parties.

Pondering

Check out his platform.

https://erinotoole.ca/platform/

https://erinotoole.ca/rebuilding-canada/stability-in-recovery-plan/

  1. Establish a Fiscal Stability Plan to bring the budget to balance on a prudent timeline. The plan would be marked by milestone measures and a closely monitored connection with the step-down of emergency COVID-19 benefits and other emergency measures.
  2. Wind Down Emergency Benefits – the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was intended to be a temporary measure to help in a crisis. It is not a replacement for Employment Insurance and it is certainly not a Guaranteed Annual Income.

Elsewhere he promises Covid money for small businesses, tax credits to remove Huawei 5G components. He also wants to cut taxes as well as simplifying them and flattening them. Removing interprovincial trade barriers (does this have to do with oil?). And look theres this: "First Nations have opportunities to participate in large resource projects — from the needed expansion of Canada’s electricity power grids to mining to oil and gas — "

Remember the energy corridor? Including electricity will not change Quebec's mind about EE and they will be very vocal about it through Blanchet.

Along with cancelling the carbon tax, who do you think this will be popular with:

  1. Introduce a National Strategic Pipelines Act within its first 100 days in office to help bring certainty and speed of approval to pipelines in the national interest. National interest would be determined by lines providing access to global markets or domestic refinery capability, especially petrochemical refineries producing the materials essential to PPE production
  2. Propose a North American energy strategy that includes ending the importation of oil from outside of North America.
  3. Support our oil industry in continuing to make Canadian oil even greener by applying technologies like carbon capture and storage.
  4. Support Canada as a research and development and production hub for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), building upon Canada’s tremendous legacy as a pioneer and innovator in nuclear power.

Selling natural gas is on his list of ways to fight global climate change.

In contrast Trudeau will be playing Santa Claus. Provincial governments will prefer Trudeau because they are struggling and need money injected into their systems. All the provincial governments will be running deficits. They would far rather the federal government take it on.

So yeah, O'Toole is a very likeable relatable man. He is much more appealing that Harper and Scheer. Trudeau's looks didn't keep his numbers high. They dropped like a stone until he started releasing policy. Both elections were won on policy not likeablity.

Don't new leaders get an immediate honeymoon? Trudeau reeks of entitlement and scandal yet polls still show him winning. It has nothing to do with his charm.

 

 

Pondering

Nanos has been polling:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/nanos-survey-reveals-where-o-toole-s-con...

Willingness to vote for the Conservatives was highest by far in the Prairies, where 63.2 per cent of respondents reported being either open or somewhat open to the party. This is roughly in line with the Conservatives' vote share in the 2019 federal election in the region, where they won 54 out of 62 seats.

Nanos measured openness or somewhat openness to voting for the Conservatives with O'Toole as leader at 38.6 per cent in Ontario, 35.9 percent in British Columbia, 29 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 27.7 per cent in Quebec.

Those levels are roughly in line with the party's vote share in last year's election in B.C. and Atlantic Canada, but significantly higher than the party's 2019 performance in Ontario and Quebec – suggesting a measure of support for O'Toole's Conservatives in the crucial swing ridings in those two provinces.

Being open to voting for a party isn't the same thing as voting for them. If it were, the NDP would have won many more elections. Those numbers are without hearing about policy.

I don't have a crystal ball but so far I have been right about the federal elections since Trudeau took the leadership. I never wavered even when the Conservatives and the NDP were in first place at different moments.  I have high hopes for another minority with the NDP having the balance of power.