Skip to content

New Conservative leader supports ‘free trade’, Energy East, opposes electoral reform

Newly-elected Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s website says, “Only Andrew can unite the Conservative Party while remaining true to our conservative values. He’s young, bilingual and can beat Trudeau.” But where does he stand on key issues? And could he really become the next prime minister?

Huffington Post Canada’s Ottawa bureau chief Althia Raj has commented, “If you’re looking for Harper’s policies wrapped in a friendlier package, Scheer is your man.” And right-wing commentator Tom Flanagan says, “Mr. Scheer is, in effect, a jollier version of Stephen Harper. …He has a big smile almost constantly plastered on his face. Like Justin Trudeau, he’s a young, affable family man. The Liberals and the Liberal-friendly media will certainly attack his policies, but it will be hard for them to paint him as a Machiavellian danger to democracy, as they depicted Mr. Harper.”

Trade – Scheer’s platform says as prime minister he would, “Seek out new free trade deals with our partners and allies like the United Kingdom.”

Scheer has tweeted, “I am opposed to a free trade deal with the People’s Republic of China. This is an ill-thought out and dangerous policy. …Canada needs to set an example of principled foreign policy incl. trading with free countries that respect human rights and freedoms. …If China’s record on that was to change, then free trade could be considered, but not before.” – iPolitics

Energy – “Scheer is asking for Liberal MP Ralph Goodale to show more support for the proposed Energy East Pipeline. The Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre [has] openly opposed the pipeline, and Scheer says the only Liberal MP for Saskatchewan should be standing up for the project. Scheer says Goodale needs to publicly back the project, which would create thousands of jobs within the province. Scheer is concerned the Liberals are looking for excuses to block this project.” – CKRM

Water – His platform says, “We need to ensure that Canadians never have to breathe the toxic air or drink the polluted water that one finds in so many other countries around the world, by identifying the real threats to our environment rather than chasing bureaucratic money-grabs.”

“His main plank on the environment is to make it illegal to dump raw sewage in public waterways.” – Huffington Post

Health care – “Scheer would leave the public system as-is but encourage provinces to innovate with private sector offerings. ‘Everyone is better off in this system. The person that can afford to purchase it, gets his or hers done right away and their name is off the [public] list and everyone else just moves up a spot…'” – Huffington Post

Democracy – Scheer says, “I support the current first past the post system, it has served this country through confederation, the First World War, Great Depressions, Second World War, the 60’s, we’ve had a very strong and stable government, where many countries have through those things and have had much more difficult times because of the instability of their government.” – The Hant’s Journal

Indigenous rights – “The entirety of Scheer’s stated policy on First Nations is a return to the punitive, Harper-era policy of publishing Indigenous bands’ financial statements online. That practice puts the entire responsibility for a broken, dysfunctional funding system — one which auditor general Sheila Fraser condemned on numerous occasions — on the shoulders of poor and inadequately resourced First Nations communities.” – Rabble.ca

Other news reports note that Scheer wants gas station pumps to display what percentage of oil is sourced from foreign countries, supported Brexit, would return Canadian fighter jets to Iraq, voted against M-103 (the motion that condemned Islamophobia), is against gay marriage, is anti-abortion, voted against Bill C-16 (that would have expanded the Canadian Human Rights Act to include protections for transgender people), supports the right to own firearms, speaks fondly of hunting deer, sends his children to a private Christian school, and would withhold federal grants to universities that stop ‘pro-life’ or pro-Israel events.

The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson notes, “The genial former Speaker of the House of Commons, despite a seasoning of socially conservative policies, is likely to be more saleable against Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the next election – much more a Stephen Harper 2.0, but with a smile.”

Last week, pollster Nik Nanos commented, “The election of a new NDP leader could potentially be more telling in terms of Liberal support because of the proportion of Canadians who are Liberal-NDP switchers. One can argue that with the past election being about change, it was those Liberal-NDP switchers who made Justin Trudeau Prime Minister.”

Scheer will lead the Conservatives in Question Period in the House of Commons today, the NDP could have a new leader in place by October 1, and the next federal election is scheduled to take place on October 21, 2019.