In a move that stunned many observers and political watchers, Andrew Scheer just announced his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Scheer made the announcement during the daily session in the House of Commons on Thursday, Dec. 12.
This was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. I have announced my intention to step down as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada once a new Leader is elected. I am putting my party first and my family first. WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/BEjBQ7DI3d
— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) December 12, 2019
“In order to chart the course ahead, the party needs someone who can give 100 per cent. After some conversations with my kids and loved ones, I felt it was time to put my family first,” Scheer said in the House, saying it had been “an incredible challenge” for his family.
“The party is not shaped by whoever’s name is on the masthead. As we embark on this exciting opportunity, my ask is this: let’s stay united. Let’s stay focused on delivering a strong conservative government that can unite our country and make life better.”
First elected as MP for Regina-Qu’appelle in 2004, Scheer rose through the ranks to become Speaker of the House in 2011 and eventually Tory chief in 2017, besting former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier in a close leadership contest after 13 rounds of voting (Bernier eventually left the Conservatives to form the People’s Party).
Most recently, Scheer led the Conservatives in the 2019 federal election, where his party captured 121 seats and won the popular vote. However, the Liberals were returned to office (albeit with a minority government) even after revelations that Justin Trudeau had worn blackface and brownface years ago.
In the aftermath of an election, the Conservatives have a mandatory leadership review on whether to keep the leader or hold another leadership contest to replace him.
Scheer has been attempting to shore up his support in anticipation of the vote, but lately the news has been about Tories looking to oust him from the leadership, not only from progressive Tories but even those on the social conservative side who thought Scheer didn’t do enough to defend their cause.
If anything, getting rid of Scheer has been a unifying force amongst all wings of the party.
Many observers and even Tories suggested Scheer’s socially conservative positions on same-sex marriage and abortion hurt him in this campaign and would hurt him in another one. Former Tory cabinet minister Peter MacKay (one name rumoured to be in the running for leader) even said the issues ‘hung like a stinking albatross’ around Scheer during the campaign.
But while the reasons for Scheer stepping down were quite obvious, although it was surprising that the decision came so soon, other reports indicate that there were more specific reasons why Scheer is stepping down now:
#CPC sources tell Global News that members of the Conservative Fund are outraged and demanded Scheer's resignation when they found out party money was being spent on private schooling. Sources say the expenditures were made without the knowledge or approval of the Fund #cdnpoli
— Mercedes Stephenson (@MercedesGlobal) December 12, 2019
He has not addressed these allegations at this time or during his announcement.
Rumoured names to run for the Tory leader’s job include Ontario Premier Doug Ford, MacKay, Ontario MP Erin O’Toole and even current Brampton mayor Patrick Brown.
The Conservatives’ scheduled convention will take place in April of 2020 in Toronto.