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Leader of the Official Opposition

The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is the leader of the party with the second greatest number of seats in the House of Commons. Their task is to keep the government of the day responsible by asking questions of cabinet members of their latest program initiatives. The Leader of the Official Opposition is 8th on the Canadian Order of Precedence.



The party with the greatest number of elected representatives outside the governing party becomes Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. This party takes the lead in holding the Government accountable for its policies and actions. The leader of this party becomes the Leader of the Official Opposition, sitting directly across from the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. The duty of the Official Opposition and other opposition parties is to "oppose," criticizing government policies and suggesting improvements, and presenting an alternative to the current Government's policy agenda.

Opposition members have various opportunities to influence the formulation of laws and policies including the daily Question Period in the House of Commons. The opposition is allocated 20 "Opposition Days" or "Supply Days" each calendar year, during which it can propose a motion for debate in the House of Commons and criticize the Government on issues of broad national policy. Members of opposition parties also serve on parliamentary committees in both the Senate and the House of Commons.

Twice at the provincial level, there has been no official opposition. The elections in Prince Edward Island in 1935 and New Brunswick in 1987 brought only one party to their respective legislatures. This situation has never occurred in the House of Commons.

The Honourable Erin O'Toole

The Honourable Erin O'Toole
The Honourable Erin O'Toole
Erin O'Toole was born in Montreal. He enrolled in the RCAF when he was 18 and attended the Royal Military College. He did basic training in Chilliwack, BC; got his wings in Winnipeg, MB; and served out of Halifax, NS. Erin participated in search and rescue missions as a tactical navigator. He is bilingual.

After 12 years of service, Erin retired from the military and spent the next decade working in the private sector as a corporate lawyer. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the True Patriot Love Foundation, a charity that serves veterans and military families across Canada.

He has been elected 3 times in Durham (2012 by- election, 2015 and 2019). He served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade before becoming Minister of Veterans Affairs, a beleaguered file he successfully turned around within 10 months at the end of the Harper government.

From 2018-2020, Erin served as Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs until he was elected leader of the Conservative Party. Erin is married to Rebecca and they have two children, Mollie & Jack.

SOURCES: Library of Parliament, Conservative Party of Canada.

See also
House of Commons
Speaker of the House of Commons
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Former Leaders of the Official Opposition

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt