The Member of Parliament for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound says Erin O'Toole's decision to resign his seat in the House of Commons is a loss for Canadians across the country.
O'Toole made the announcement on March 31, saying he will not seek re-election and will resign his seat at the end of the spring session.
In his time as MP, Alex Ruff has spoken very highly of O'Toole several times, and while he did know that O'Toole was eventually stepping down, was still surprised to learn about the move from the Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Durham.
"It's tough once you've been the leader of the party to take a back seat, but at the same time, you don't want to be a distraction" says Ruff, who was two years behind O'Toole while the two attended the Royal Military College of Canada. "I know he's always taken his role as a politician and a parliamentarian very seriously, and he's always been a statesman."
"It's a great loss for Canada, and for our caucus" added Ruff.
O'Toole served as a cabinet minister under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, eventually replacing Andrew Scheer as Conservative Party leader in 2020, but was ousted from the position following his party's unsuccessful bid to unseat Justin Trudeau's Liberals in the 2021 federal election.
"Erin was a wealth of knowledge, and a voice for Canadians, especially for the military, veteran's affairs, foreign policy, and for the little guy. Erin was an extremely competent, experienced individual that was absolutely dedicated to serving Canada" added Ruff.