The Conservatives’ new leader is Andrew Scheer. The choice was made Saturday, following a 13 ballot leadership convention. Scheer upset presumed front-runner Maxime Bernier by less than one percentage point Saturday following a campaign lasting a year.
Scheer is a 38-year old Member of Parliament (M.P.) from Saskatchewan. He’s a father of five children, and a former Speaker of the House of Commons. In his victory speech he promises his party will work hard for all Canadians. “There is renewed hope for Canada starting today. The pain and hardship the Trudeau Liberals are causing Canadians is just temporary,” he said according to the CBC.
He thanked former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, crediting him with reuniting the party. Scheer served as the youngest Speaker of the House of Commons under Harper.
Critics have criticised Scheer for his social conservative views. He voted against M-103; a motion condemning Islamophobia, and legislation protecting the rights of transgender Canadians. When asked about whether his views meant caucus members would be able to bring forward legislation related to abortion he only said he refused to be put in a “binary box.”
Scheer wants to focus on issues like free speech. He emphasized that all Conservatives would be welcome from democratic reform conservatives, libertarian conservatives, social conservatives, and fiscal conservatives.
Prime Minister Justin offered his congratulations by phone from Italy. “I want to congratulate Andrew for his success, congratulate everyone who was part of what was a strong, democratic process,” he said.
Scheer Attends First Caucus Meeting as Leader
Monday marked Scheer’s first Caucus meeting as Conservative leader. He took the opportunity to elaborate on the themes expressed in his speech on Saturday, and begin marking his party’s differences. “The Liberals can take their cues from the cocktail circuit. We will take ours from the minivans, from the soccer fields, from the legion halls, and the grocery stores,” he told his M.P.’s.
Scheer’s campaign enjoyed the support from 24 of 99 caucus M.P.’s. by the end of the race. The winner was decided by a ranked ballot. Eligible voters ranked their candidates from 1-10. The candidate with the fewest votes would be out of the race after every round. Milton M.P. Lisa Raitt lasted until the eighth ballot.