South Surrey-White Rock MP Diane Watts has endorsed Conservative leadership hopeful Erin O’Toole.
That support was prominently displayed in her home riding Saturday as she introduced O’Toole to local Conservatives and members of the public at a community open house held at the White Rock Elks Lodge.
O’Toole, MP for Durham, Ont., previously served as Veterans Affairs minister, and parliamentary secretary in the Harper government.
First elected in 2012, he is a graduate of the Royal Military College and served as a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force before he became a lawyer in 2003.
In a press release issued Friday, the former Surrey mayor said she believes O’Toole has “the necessary qualities our party needs in a strong and effective leader…(he is) everything Canadian families could want in a talented, passionate and articulate prime minister.”
Watts also cited O’Toole’s “impressive service to our country, his commitment to Canadian families, and his understanding of our country’s place in the world.”
Watts told Peace Arch News Friday that she had considered a long time before throwing her support behind a candidate for party leadership.
“I’ve been watching all (of them),” she said.
“I wanted to take a step back, get to know some of them, what they stand for and how they’re going to bring everybody together.
“It’s really important as we move into the next chapter of the evolution of the party – we need to have the right leader,” she said.
She pointed out that O’Toole has also served as the party’s critic for public safety.
“He has a lot of experience – and a wide breadth of experience.”
Asked how she felt O’Toole measured up in terms of South Surrey and White Rock voters, Watts said she feels he is “a very good fit.”
“Some of his policy pieces (include a) focus on youth and on seniors, the environment and some of the social issues – it’s important to have a leader who is focused on a multitude of issues.”