Despite past letdowns, we re not your dad’s Conservative party, O Toole pitches to new voters

Despite past letdowns, we re  not your dad’s Conservative party,  O Toole pitches to new voters
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JONQUIERE, QUE. -- Back on the road with five days left to pitch his party to Canadians as the best placed to govern, Conservative Leader Erin OToole took a new tack on Wednesday, appealing directly to voters who may not have considered voting Conservative before.

He also acknowledged that his party, like others, have let down voters in the past.

Today, I want to talk to the many Canadians who are beginning to tune in to this election in its final days, and maybehopefullylooking at the Conservatives for the first time, OToole said at a campaign event at a legion in a Bloc Quebecois-held riding north of Quebec City.

I know some of you may be hesitant because of things you may have heard or impressions that are a little out of date I understand that for years youve been let down by Mr. Trudeau and the by the Liberal government, but really if were being honest, youve been let down by parties of all stripes, mine included at times.

With public opinion polls continuing to show the Conservatives are in a close race with the Liberals, the boost in support OToole saw early in the campaign seemed to level off in the last week. Though, the latest Nanos Research data has OToole slightly ahead in national ballot support after a gradual increase in support in recent days.

In his address, the Tory leader sought to make his case to voters who might have previously written off his party or didnt feel they belonged in the so-called big blue tent.

I just want to say up front that I know my party has ground to make up, so Im here to listen to you. I want to know your thoughts, your hopes, fears, and dreams, and I hope when Monday rolls around, even if youre uncertain about your vote, youll look at Canadas Conservatives a little differently, he said.

This echoed a sentiment he first shared when he was elected as the latest Conservative leader in 2020; that he wanted more Canadians to see a Conservative when they looked in the mirror.

From the first day of my leadership, my priority has been to build a Conservative movement where every Canadian can feel at home Were not your dads Conservative party anymore, he said Wednesday.

Over the course of the campaign, OToole has sought to pitch a more progressive version of the party than the one led by his predecessor Andrew Scheer, though the Liberals have made efforts to draw attention to his past true blue brand of conservativism and his years in the Stephen Harper government.

On Wednesday at his own campaign stop, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the Conservative Partys approach is not the way forward, continuing to call out how OToole has said things during this campaign that are incongruent with his past positions.

Through attack ads and in social media posts the Liberal Party and its candidates have pointed to past opposition to the carbon tax, advancing motions on abortion, and a vote on the stalled-out conversion therapy bill that saw the majority of the Conservative caucus vote against imposing a ban, though OToole voted in favour.

It remains to be seen whether his message that if electors want change, the Conservatives are the only option, will be one he looks to drill home in the coming days as his campaign plans to stay on the road visiting key ridings through to Sept. 20.
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