Gladu would need to be ‘fairly certain’ of success to run for Conservative leadership

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MP elect Marilyn Gladu talks with supporters in Sarnia after the 2021 federal election.

Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu is hedging her bets about whether she would run to replace Erin O’Toole.

The Conservative leader was forced from his role Thursday by a vote of MPs. Gladu would not say how she voted. Deputy Leader Candice Bergen takes over as interim leader.

Gladu was one of the people who ran against O’Toole in the last leadership race. She was forced out of the race when the party ruled she could not use her own cash to meet the $300,000 fundraising goals set for candidates.

But Gladu is not saying if she’s ready to take another stab at it. “I’ve had people say that they’d like me to run again. It’s easy for people to say, ‘Yeah, you know, you’d be great.’ But it is a very serious undertaking. And, you know, I’d have to be fairly certain of chances of success,” Gladu tells The Independent.

“And so I would have to be sure that the party would be fair and would want me to be on the ballot before I would consider another run.”

Gladu says she’d love to see former Interim Leader Rona Ambrose run. She’s already said she will not.

“We need to find someone who can bring the party together and be electable. And so I’ll wait to see who else presents because it’s possible that there’s somebody else that has a burning desire, and if not, I would step forward for God and country.”

Gladu rattles off names like current Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and former premier Brad Walls as possible O’Toole replacements.

“I do love Pierre Poilievre (the current finance critic) I’m just not sure whether or not he will appeal to people beyond the base and that’s what we need to grow the party,” she says

Gladu says the new leader won’t have an easy job. “Part of it is being able to listen and hear and involve the caucus and coming to a position we can all live with. I think that was something that we didn’t see from Erin.”

The MP traces back O’Toole’s problems to his about-face on carbon taxes without consulting the grassroots of the party.

“Their long standing policy has been to be opposed to a carbon tax because it doesn’t actually do anything for the environment. It’s just revenue for the government and makes people’s lives harder. But you can’t just change the position and that was the criticism that Erin received is that you know, without any consultation, he decided we were having one …I think that hurt him.”

Gladu says it will be tough for a new leader to pull all parts of the Conservative Party together before the next federal election

“You can see it’s a very difficult job, and it’s been made even worse with this pandemic, but it’s not an easy job to keep a diverse team together,” Gladu says adding this is the best time to get the party moving in the right direction.

Gladu says there were questions about O’Toole’s leadership for some time but MPs thought “if we’re going to change leadership we got to do it now. We can’t wait till 2023.

“(Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau is just waiting until he can see that he’s got some kind of majority edge, and he will call another election.”