Erin O'Toole

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The Honourable
Erin O'Toole
Erin O'Toole.jpg
O'Toole in 2014
Official Opposition Critic for Public Safety
In office
November 20, 2015 – September 29, 2016
Leader Rona Ambrose
Preceded by Randall Garrison
Succeeded by Tony Clement
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Durham
Assumed office
November 26, 2012
Preceded by Bev Oda
Minister of Veterans Affairs
In office
January 5, 2015 – November 4, 2015
Preceded by Julian Fantino
Succeeded by Kent Hehr
Personal details
Born Erin Michael O'Toole
(1973-01-22) January 22, 1973 (age 44)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political party Conservative Party of Canada
Spouse(s) Rebecca[1]
Residence Courtice, Ontario, Canada
Alma mater Royal Military College
Profession Lawyer
Military service
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch  Royal Canadian Air Force
Years of service 1991 - 2003
Rank CDN-Air Force-Captain (OF2)-2015.svg Captain

Erin Michael O'Toole, PC CD MP (born January 22, 1973) is a Canadian politician, who was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in a by-election on November 26, 2012. A member of the Conservative Party of Canada, he represents the electoral district of Durham. On January 5, 2015, O'Toole was appointed Minister of Veterans Affairs replacing Julian Fantino.

He is the son of John O'Toole, the same district's former MPP in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.[2]


Born in Montreal, O'Toole was raised in Bowmanville and Port Perry, Ontario as the oldest of five children. After graduation from Bowmanville High School in 1991, he joined the Canadian Forces and enrolled at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston. He graduated from the RMC in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

O'Toole’s first posting with the RCAF was at 8 Wing in Trenton, Ontario, working at the Rescue Coordination Centre on search and rescue operations. He was later posted to 17 Wing in Winnipeg, Manitoba to complete his training as an air navigator. He received his wings and in 1997 was posted to 12 Wing in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. He flew with 423 Squadron as a tactical navigator on the CH-124 (Sea King) Helicopter. The Sea King flew in support of the Royal Canadian Navy, conducting anti-submarine, maritime surveillance, search and rescue and naval support operations. O'Toole sailed with the RCN as part of the air detachment aboard the Canadian frigate HMCS St. John’s.

While serving at 12 Wing, O'Toole was promoted to the rank of captain and later received the Canadian Forces Decoration for 12 years of service to Canada. He and members of his Sea King crew received the Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award for the rescue of an injured fisherman at sea.

Legal career[edit]

Upon completion of his service in the regular forces in 2000, O'Toole transferred to the Canadian Forces reserves and attended law school at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He continued to work during law school serving with 406 Squadron as a training officer. O'Toole graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 2003 and returned to Ontario to practice law.

Following his articles and call to the bar in Ontario, O'Toole practiced law in a variety of corporate settings. He began his career practicing litigation, insolvency and energy regulation law at Stikeman Elliott, one of Canada’s largest law firms. He then worked for several years as in-house corporate counsel for Procter & Gamble in Canada. While at P&G, he managed all litigation for the company in Canada and provided counsel to management on advertising, environmental and general commercial issues. Following his work at P&G, he returned to private practice and joined Heenan Blaikie in Toronto. At Heenan Blaikie, O'Toole was practicing corporate law and working with clients on business development matters in Canada and internationally.

O'Toole has been a long-time member of Branch 178 of the Royal Canadian Legion and has worked with the Legion on their Remembrance Day activities for almost a decade. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Courtice, and has been one of the organizers of the Clarington Youth & Community Leadership Dinner. For the last few years, this dinner has recognized local youth leaders and has raised funds for the building of schools in Africa with the Michael “Pinball” Clemons Foundation and Free the Children. In 2012, O'Toole was the co-chair of the River Runs Through Us campaign in Clarington, which raised over $100,000 for the construction of a fish passage and recreational area along the Bowmanville Creek.[3]

O'Toole has also been an active organizer and fundraiser for several national charities. In 2009, he was one of the founders of the True Patriot Love Foundation, which has raised over $11 million for programs supporting members of the military, veterans and their families. He has also served as a director and dinner co-chair for the non-partisan Churchill Society, where he helped raise over $125,000 for educational programs about our parliamentary democracy. He has also helped raise funds and awareness of Canadian history as a director of the Vimy Foundation, and is part of the foundation’s 2017 – Century of Vimy campaign cabinet. Until his election to Parliament, he also served on the board of governors of the Royal Military College.

For his leadership efforts in the charitable and non-profit sectors, O'Toole was recognized with the Young Alumnus Award from Dalhousie University and was also awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.[4]

Federal politics[edit]

O'Toole was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative MP in a by-election for the electoral district of Durham on November 26, 2012.[5] On January 5, 2015, O'Toole was appointed Minister of Veterans Affairs replacing Julian Fantino.[6]

When the Conservatives were relegated to the official opposition after the 2015 election, O'Toole was re-elected and announced his intention to run for the interim leadership of the party.[7] He was defeated by Rona Ambrose.

After serving on Ambrose's front bench, O'Toole resigned as the Official Opposition Critic for Public Safety in September to explore a bid for the permanent leadership.[8]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Erin O'Toole 28,967 45.13 −10.04
Liberal Corinna Traill 22,949 35.75 +20.22
New Democratic Derek Spence 10,289 16.03 −7.72
Green Stacey Leadbetter 1,616 2.52 −2.04
Christian Heritage Andrew Moriarity 364 0.57
Total valid votes/Expense limit 64,185 100.00   $235,165.58
Total rejected ballots 233 0.36
Turnout 64,418 68.93
Eligible voters 93,455
Conservative hold Swing -15.13
Source: Elections Canada[9][10][11]
Canadian federal by-election, November 26, 2012: Durham
Resignation of Bev Oda
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Erin O'Toole 17,280 50.72 −3.83 $95,331
New Democratic Larry O'Connor 8,946 26.26 +5.16 $96,257
Liberal Grant Humes 5,887 17.28 −0.57 $91,946
Green Virginia Ervin 1,386 4.07 −1.32 $742
Christian Heritage Andrew Moriarity 437 1.28 +0.49 $4,379
Online Party Michael Nicula 132 0.39 $1,080
Total valid votes 34,068 100.00
Total rejected ballots 115
Turnout 34,183 35.87
Eligible voters 95,296
Conservative hold Swing −8.99
Source: "November 26, 2012 By-elections". Elections Canada. November 27, 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 


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