MacDougall: Erin O’Toole must get the Trumpists out of conservatism

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Whether Erin O’Toole likes it or not, his Conservative movement includes some bad apples, a not-insignificant minority who look at political events down south not with shock, but admiration. They view Trump’s insurgency – now a literal insurgency – as a potential roadmap for politics in Canada. It would be malpractice for Liberal operatives not to pick at that wound.

And if that weren’t headache enough, O’Toole’s movement also includes some whose social views run retrograde to settled Canadian public opinion. These are the people who still use pejorative words for gays and look at religious minorities, Muslims in particular, with a deep skepticism, if not outright hostility. All scabs for Liberals to pick.

All the more reason, then, for O’Toole to bust out the Band-Aids. And in the case of current Trump supporters, go further and defenestrate, because failing to cut the rot will only taint the millions of fine people who support his party on election days. A failure to act will also prevent the new supporters he needs to become prime minister from coming over.

The looming election demands moral clarity. O’Toole must clearly state the arsonists who torch societal norms that bind our communities aren’t welcome in his party, because unleashing bitterness, anger and intolerance is an uncontrollable and ultimately destructive path, not a route to a better future. This isn’t a Liberal-lite thing to say; it’s rock-ribbed conservative.