Andrew Scheer surprising choice to lead Tories into 2019 election

June 1, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Following a heavily contested battle for Conservative Party of Canada leadership, featuring an unprecedented 13 names on the ballot, Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer emerged from the shadows over the weekend to officially take the reins of the federal Tories.

The race, which many had initially slated as a two-horse contest between reality TV star and political newcomer Kevin O’Leary and seasoned federal politician Maxime Bernier before the former removed himself from the running, wrapped up on Saturday at the Conservative Party’s leadership convention in Toronto.

At its conclusion, Mr. Scheer, the 38-year-old, five-term veteran ousted a man many believed a shoe-in for the role in Mr. Bernier, edging out the Quebec MP by less than two percentage points on the 13th and final ballot of the vote.

Speaking to media immediately following his victory, Mr. Scheer thanked his fellow candidates, which also included high profile MPs such as Lisa Raitt, Kellie Leitch, Chris Alexander and Michael Chong, for all of their work in what he called perhaps the strongest leadership race the party has ever seen.

“What a campaign this has been,” Mr. Scheer said immediately following the ballot. “There is a renewed hope for Canada, starting today. The pain and hardship the Trudeau Liberals are causing Canadians is just temporary.”

Mr. Scheer, who has represented the riding of Regina-Qu’Appelle in Saskatchewan since 2004, has promised to keep the party true to its roots, working for average Canadian families and not federal bureaucrats. He says Canada cannot afford four more years of Justin Trudeau and vowed to unite the Conservatives as they bid to return to power in the 2019 federal election.

Locally, while Dufferin-Caledon MP David Tilson had thrown his support behind Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong, he says there was a lot of enthusiasm over Mr. Scheer’s win.

“The entire caucus was on the upbeat,” Mr. Tilson said. “The crowd was really spirited. I think Mr. Scheer is perfect for the job and he will give the Liberals a run for their money in the next election.”

He added, “I’m sure he’ll be attractive to the millennial,” pointing to Mr. Scheer’s relative youth.

As for Mr. Bernier’s loss, “I really feel for the guy,” Mr. Tilson said. “He must feel awful.”

Mr. Scheer, who turned 38 late last month,  served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 2011 to 2015.

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