Conservative commentator Jamil Jivani runs to replace former Tory leader Erin O’Toole as Clarington MP

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Published April 20, 2023 at 6:10 pm

Conservative commentator Jamil Jivani is the new Durham riding MP.

The first candidate hoping to replace Durham MP Erin O’Toole has entered the race in Jamil Jivani, a Conservative commentator and writer known for railing against the “woke establishment” in his books, columns, and radio show.

The need for a new Durham MP to represent Clarington and North Oshawa in Parliament was sparked in late March when O’Toole announced he would retire from the role at the end of spring. O’Toole has held the seat since 2012. The riding has been a Conservative stronghold since 2004.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tapped O’Toole, a veteran himself, to lead the Ministry of Veterans Affairs in 2015. Following the Conservative electoral loss to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals that fall, O’Toole ran to replace Harper as leader but lost to Regina MP Andrew Scheer.

Scheer’s term as leader proved short-lived when he too stepped down following another electoral loss to the Liberals in 2019. O’Toole again ran to head the party besting his former Harper Cabinet colleague Adam McKay. However, O’Toole was soon ousted following yet another election loss in 2021. The party held a non-confidence vote regarding his leadership last February finding 60 per cent of part MPs had lost confidence in O’Toole’s leadership.

After O’Toole’s ouster, current leader Pierre Poilievre won the leadership in a landslide the following September. O’Toole retained his seat following the leadership change but announced his intention to resign a few months later.

Now Jivani has become the first candidate to declare in intent to replace O’Toole as a new member of Poilievre’s team. He announced his candidacy via social media on Apr. 20.

Jivani was born in Toronto and raised in Brampton. He went on to attend Humber College and York University, before earning a doctorate in law from Yale Law School in Connecticut. He attended the Ivy League university alongside Ohio Senator and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance and has written about the pair’s close friendship.

Shortly after his 2013 graduation from Yale, Jivani founded the Policing Literacy Initiative, an organization he described to the CBC as highlighting progressive voices in policing and community leaders to find common solutions. He has written about his interactions with Toronto Police and argued against the practice of “carding” in editorials for the National Post.

Recently Jivani has penned numerous editorials for the Toronto Sun railing against the Trudeau government and what he views as the rise of “woke” politics. In 2019, he published his first book Why Young Men, an examination of violence perpetrated by young men.

He also hosted a radio talk show, Tonight with Jamil Jivani, for Bell Media starting in September 2020. However, he was fired in September 2022. He alleged this was because he did not fit Black stereotypes and has sued Bell over his firing.

He has also served as an advisor to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and to the Government of Alberta. He is currently the President of the Canada Strong and Free Network  focused on, “best practices and ideas pertaining to limited government, free enterprise, individual responsibility.”

The Canada Strong and Free Network was previously called the Manning Centre, named for Harper mentor Preston Manning, whose Reform Party ideals Jivani has advocated for. In his candidacy announcement, Jivani said “We’re in a pivotal time in Canadian history and we need leaders to step up,” adding that Canadians “need fighters” as MPs.

Jivani offered a five point plan for his fight. Firstly he said he wants to fight Liberal-NDP coalition in Parliament, saying “The Trudeau Liberals, propped up by the NDP, are making it difficult for hard working families to get ahead.”

However, no such coalition actually exists. Whereas a coalition is a formal joining of parties to operate as one government, the Liberals and the NDP have a supply and confidence agreement. This means “the NDP agrees to support the government on confidence and budgetary matters…and that the Liberal Party commits to govern for the duration of the agreement,” per the announcement. It is set to last until 2025.

Next Jivani said he wants to work to keep Canadians safe saying, repeal Canada’s carbon pricing system, protect free speech from “woke censorship” and to support small businesses.

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