Parliament's youth movement is extending to the green lawn of Kingsmere in Gatineau Park, as the keys to the official residence of the House of Commons Speaker are now in the hands of Regina MP Andrew Scheer, a father of four young children.
Mr. Scheer, who at two weeks past his 32nd birthday is the youngest Speaker in the history of the House of Commons, is now the face of a Parliament where the average age has dipped under 50.
The young MP managed to use his experience as deputy speaker and friendly nature to win over his colleagues on the sixth round of voting. Rather than coming in as an enforcer, Mr. Scheer stressed the need for MPs to respect each other. He has noted in the past that while he was once a fierce heckler, he came to realize that all MPs are in it for the same reasons, even if they disagree on issues.
"He'll be quite friendly with the members. That's the way he works," said former Speaker Peter Milliken, who held the job for the past 10 years.
Fellow Regina MP Tom Lukiwski, who ran Mr. Scheer's campaign for speaker, said he has only two interests at the moment: politics and his family. "Mainly right now, his whole life revolves around his family. Beyond that, his interests are all political."
As Speaker, Mr. Scheer will have to spend more time in Ottawa, and bringing his children and wife Jillian Scheer to the capital likely suits him just fine. He grew up in Ottawa and his parents are still here. His father, Jim, is a deacon and a former Ottawa Citizen newspaper librarian.
After studying at the University of Ottawa and the University of Regina, Mr. Scheer worked as a parliamentary aide. He moved to Regina and became an insurance broker before successfully running for office in 2004. He has been deputy speaker since 2008.
Mr. Milliken said Mr. Scheer's children will have plenty to do at Kingsmere. "It'll keep them busy," he said. "They can go for a hike."
With a report from Adrian Morrow