Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer speaks in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, on Aug. 12, 2020.


Outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says his replacement must quickly put together a strong team in the Commons and for the next campaign, and he’s happy to offer whatever advice needed on that score.

But there are two other pieces of advice he hopes whoever is elected later this month will also find a way to heed: the need for a leader to communicate authentically and to break through into the cities and suburbs whose voters are essential if the Tories are to win a majority government.

“That is the critical ingredient,” he said Wednesday in a wide-ranging interview with The Canadian Press on what was his last day in the House of Commons as Opposition Leader.

Story continues below advertisement

His failure to win that majority sparked both an internal and external debate in the aftermath of the 2019 federal election that eventually led Mr. Scheer to resign, pending the result of the Conservative leadership race.

The vote is finally coming to an end Aug. 21, after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and four candidates are in the running: current MPs Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan, former cabinet minister Peter MacKay and Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis.

Mr. Sloan and Ms. Lewis both come from the social conservative wing of the party. Both have promised that if they do win, they would include legislation curtailing access to abortion on their agenda.

Though Mr. Scheer promised he’d never allow a Conservative government to bring forward legislation on abortion, his own social conservative views on the subject were a flashpoint during the campaign.

Mr. MacKay once infamously called them an “albatross” hanging around the party’s neck.

Mr. Scheer dodged a question Wednesday on whether, if an avowed social conservative is elected as the next leader, the party would just find itself stuck dealing with the subject anew.

He said he still believes a prime minister can be a social conservative, and it’s only under the current Liberals that people who hold those views have come to be demonized in the public square.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Scheer is only the second permanent leader the Conservative Party of Canada has had since it was formed in a merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives.

Stephen Harper became the leader of the new party in 2004, and would go on to lead the Tories through a succession of minority governments before winning a majority in 2011.

In the majority years, Mr. Scheer – who had first been elected an MP from Regina in 2004 – served as Speaker of the House of Commons, but when the Tories lost power in 2015 and Mr. Harper resigned, he decided to try for leadership.

He won in a squeaker of a vote in 2017.

“We ended up seeing a bit of a division, a potential division after the last leadership,” said Alberta MP Matt Jeneroux.

“Andrew Scheer came in, he kept this party together, he kept this party united. That’s really going to be his legacy.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Scheer said Wednesday he does consider that an accomplishment, and a challenge that his replacement will face.

The race this time, by all accounts, has been far nastier inside caucus than in 2017.

But the context is also different than when Mr. Scheer took the helm that year.

The unprecedented situation forced by the COVID-19 pandemic means the next leader, if elected prime minister, could inherit a government with a historically high deficit, among other major economic and social challenges.

For a party that’s built its brand on keeping government small and costs down, it will require thoughtful policy, Mr. Scheer said.

“Many on the left are going to try to use the pandemic as a justification for a return to the failed policies of the past,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“One of the things I believe the next leader of the party here, and advocates for free market economics around the world, will have to do is rewin the battles that we won in the eighties.”

Then, communist and socialist states in Eastern Europe and elsewhere were flailing against the economic growth taking place in capitalist societies, he said, making it clear that the recipe for success isn’t more government intervention but letting people and markets take the lead.

“What we have to do in our party here in Canada is find a way to communicate that message in a way that people can appreciate and support,” he said.

The next leader needs to be mindful of the true communications challenge posed by political life, he said.

“You have to maintain your authenticity and still allow who you are to flow through and connect with people,” he said.

“But it’s also a very difficult environment because you have to always be polishing a message.”

Story continues below advertisement

One message that Mr. Scheer said he heard loud and clear late last fall was that he was missing too much in the lives of his five children.

It was a late-night kitchen conversation with his teenage son, Thomas, that cemented his decision to step down, a conversation that came as the fact he was using party funds to pay for their private school tuition was becoming a public issue.

That his kids were pulled into the political morass is part of the job, he said, but he hopes they will take away from the entire experience that politics can be a positive force.

“You go through a lot of criticism online, in the media, from your opponents but you can also have a tremendously positive impact on your community,” he said.

Mr. Scheer said he will remain the MP for Regina-Qu’Appelle, and will serve in whatever capacity the new leader requests.

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies