This is the story of how Erin went from flying on Royal Canadian Air Force Choppers to Parliament.
Erin O’Toole, the eldest of five, was born in Montreal in 1973. His Dad worked for General Motors and his Mom studied to become a teacher.
A transfer took the family to Bowmanville, Ontario where Erin grew up.
When he was nine, Erin tragically lost his mother to breast cancer. It was this experience that taught him the importance of making the best of what you’ve got and who you are, and to never give anything less than your all.
Erin’s father remarried and they taught their five children to work hard, help your neighbour and care deeply about your community and country.
Erin enrolled in the Royal Military College of Canada at 18 and became an officer for the Royal Canadian Air Force at 22. He did basic training in Chilliwack, got his wings in Winnipeg and was then based in Shearwater, Nova Scotia.
Erin then spent his twenties flying on search and rescue missions and naval support operations with 423 Squadron.
He rose the military ranks to Captain and was awarded both the Canadian Forces Decoration and the Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award for rescuing an injured fisherman at sea.
Erin’s military service instilled him with the determination to always see a mission through.
"We went on our first date to Tom’s Little Havana. We were dancing by the end of the night to “True” by Spandau Ballet, which was our first dance at our wedding."
It was at a Mooseheads game in Halifax that Erin met Rebecca in 1998.
Rebecca was his last first date. They’ve been at each other's side ever since and now celebrate over twenty years of marriage and have two children, Mollie and Jack.
In his thirties, Erin became a leader in the business sector, honing his skills in advocacy and the law and engaging with leaders across industries.
Erin’s time spent working in business revealed the critical roles of entrepreneurs and small business owners in creating jobs.
"We don’t need a typical career politician, but someone who can take charge and return the country back to prosperity. We need a leader that is proud of our industries and understands them."
Family and service to others are the reasons Erin gets up every day.
He’s volunteered with the Royal Canadian Legion and the Rotary Club. He’s helped in creating the Clarington Youth and Community Leadership Programme, and raised funds to build schools in Africa.
He was also a founding member of the Board of Directors to a charity to support veterans, the True Patriot Love Foundation, which he has worked to raise millions of dollars for.
Winning the by-election of Durham saw Erin enter Parliament in 2012. From there, he was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and then became the Minister of Veterans Affairs in 2015. Erin applied his own military background to improve support and relations for Canada’s veterans.
"Above all, I will fight for all the forgotten, those people who get up early to feed their families. The men and women who work hard and are proud to work. They can count on me."
Erin knows that working Canadians are at risk of being left behind by the current Liberal government and that the direction we choose to take in our economic recovery will be felt in the years to come.
He knows a robust economic plan is the route to success, putting Canadian workers and job-creation at its centre.
Erin wasn’t raised to be a politician, but he’s always been a leader.
Now, at a time when Canada needs a government that gets on with the job and leads from the front, Erin is ready to serve.