Erin O'Toole Has A Problem
February 2nd, 2020 | RR
The campaign chair for Erin O'Toole's leadership bid is a man named Walied Soliman. A large segment of grassroots conservatives are likely to have a couple of issues with the things Mr. Soliman is involved with. For the most part, conservatives seem to have a deep-seated dislike for the amount of influence the United Nations has inside Canada, especially with the amount of influence the global organization has on our political parties and their leaders. One of the biggest—and most often ignored—questions asked by conservatives relates to what the next Conservative leader plans to do about the United Nations and its unfettered influence over Canadian politics. Unfortunately, having a guy like Walied Soliman run parts of a Conservative leadership campaign only helps to solidify the distrust many grassroots conservatives have for the big C party.
Erin O'Toole has long been viewed as a soft conservative. It was only recently that he began using appealing trigger language like “radical left” and “cancel culture”. If we go back to O'Toole's 2017 leadership campaign, it looks a lot like the exact kind of weak, milquetoast, middle-of-the-road conservatism that everyone has been complaining about for three years. Fast forward to 2020, suddenly O'Toole is a cool conservative who uses all the right words, stokes all the right emotions and attacks all the right people.
If anything, it raises red flags.
At first it might look like O'Toole has learned something over the past three years. It might be true that he learned how to be a “True Blue” conservative, or it might be true that he's putting on a clever magic show to win the leadership. With a progressive like Walied Soliman chairing his campaign, I'm leaning toward the latter.
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The guy who started Ontario Proud has joined O'Toole's digital strategy team, so that might send a signal to the grassroots, but keeping Walied Soliman on such a low profile looks odd. As of today's publish date, Soliman's Twitter bio makes no mention of his work as O'Toole's campaign chair and only a couple of news articles at the National Post and Hill Times make a brief mention of his involvement, giving absolutely no background.
So, here is a bit of information on Walied Soliman's background.
Last summer, Soliman became the 2019 Global Citizen Laureate for an organization run by the United Nations. The United Nations Association In Canada, or UNA-Canada, had this to say about Soliman on their webpage:
The United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) is pleased to announce Walied Soliman as the Association’s 2019 Global Citizen Laureate.
Walied Soliman, global chair and Canadian chair of Norton Rose Fulbright, has achieved significant prominence as an M&A and shareholder activism lawyer. He has been acknowledged many times by his peers for his professional excellence.
As a long-time advocate of diversity, inclusion and mental health issues, he believes that Canada is strengthened when advancement is open to all.
Mr. Soliman translates his positive vision for a better world into involvement in his community, where he serves as a board member of Toronto’s SickKids Hospital Foundation. Through their personal philanthropy, he and his wife Deena strive to support initiatives that improve health, education and access to social justice for all Canadians.
The Muslim Association Of Canada, or MAC, also recognized Soliman as a 2019 Global Citizen.
Walied Soliman also worked on Patrick Brown's 2015 leadership campaign for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. We all know how that eventually turned out. Patrick Brown was a big proponent of a national and provincial carbon tax before he was ousted on questionable sexual misconduct allegations.
To add icing to the cake, Soliman has been an advocate for open and lenient immigration policies for more than a decade.
It's impossible to criticize Soliman on his good charitable work and philanthropy. His work with SickKids Hospital Foundation is remarkable and his contributions to Canadian society have been nothing short of exceptional. He is a high ranking lawyer and activist, but we need to question whether his place in a Conservative leadership race is appropriate. We also need to question whether Erin O'Toole is trying to be another middle-of-the-road shill, or a “True Blue” conservative—as he claims.
Immigration and social justice are at the top of every conservative's mind right now, but not in the way Walied Soliman might think. His advocacy for more tolerant immigration practices and “social justice” won't bode well for Erin O'Toole's campaign when the word gets out. A leadership hopeful who calls himself true blue and who tries to paint himself as an alternative to Peter Mackay can't have his cake and eat it too.
Either Erin O'Toole is a true blue alternative to Peter Mackay, or he's just a cheap knockoff trying to re-brand himself.
Related: The Coronation Of Peter Mackay
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