O'Toole says caucus had no choice but to oust out-spoken MP Derek Sloan

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OTTAWA - Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he was once willing to give his former leadership rival Derek Sloan the benefit of the doubt, but no longer.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, O'Toole says the reason he didn't back efforts to toss Sloan out of the Conservative caucus last year over allegations of racism was because he didn't believe Sloan had meant to be racist.

The allegations - and effort to kick him out - came during the Conservatives' leadership race, where Sloan and O'Toole were two of four candidates on the ballot.

Thanks to backing from O'Toole, Sloan survived the caucus challenge, and O'Toole would eventually win due in part to Sloan's own supporters.

But this week, O'Toole led the charge to kick him out, basing the decision on a donation to Sloan's leadership campaign from a known white nationalist.

Sloan says he believes the real reason is to silence the power of social conservative voices at a policy convention set for March, but O'Toole says there is no such effort underway.