Scheer wins conservative leadership race

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Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer has won the Conservative leadership race, narrowly beating out Maxime Bernier on the final ballot.

Over the weekend the Conservative Party of Canada wrapped up a months-long leadership race by voting in Scheer with 50.95 per cent on the 12th ballot of the ranked ballot system.

Bernier led the race through all of the previous rounds but Scheer pulled ahead after Erin O’Toole was eliminated and his supporters had Scheer listed as their second choice.

Despite supporting O’Toole during the campaign, St. Albert MP Michael Cooper said that he is pleased with Scheer’s win.

“Andrew Scheer is someone who brings experience, he’s a uniter and someone who recognizes that the Conservative party is a big tent party and I have every confidence the Conservative party will be well positioned to go into the 2019 election under Andrew’s leadership,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that since the race wrapped up, the entire Conservative caucus has rallied around Scheer and there is “100 per cent unanimity” in supporting the new leader.

Despite his current support, Scheer has stirred up controversy in the past because of his socially conservative values. The 38-year-old has been under fire in the past for his pro-life views and voting in 2006 to re-open the debate on same sex marriage.

However, since his win Scheer said that he has no plans to reopen any debates on socially conservative matters.

“I believe that Andrew’s approach to leadership is one of being inclusive. The reality is that the position of the Conservative party is that we are not reopening some of the issues that perhaps have been out there,” Cooper said.

The St. Albert MP said that he isn’t concerned that Scheer’s personal beliefs will alienate members of the party. Cooper said that the he believes the new leader will be able to unite all conservatives in the party.

“The Conservative party is made up of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, green conservatives, libertarians, red Tories. We are a big tent party. Politics is about addition not subtraction. It’s about bringing people into the fold, not excluding people,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that rather than focus on social issues the party will be focused on the fiscal side of politics.

“That is our focus and being the voice of the taxpayer. That is exactly the approach that Rona Ambrose took and that is exactly the approach that Andrew Scheer has committed to taking,” Cooper said.

Scheer is only 38 years old and started his career as an MP 13 years ago at the age of 25. When he was only 32 years old he was selected to the Speaker of the House of Commons and became the youngest Speaker in history.

Scheer was able to rise above the 12 other candidates in the race to impress the 141,000 voting members of the Conservative party across the country.

Cooper said that the broad range of candidates represented the strength and diversity within the party.

“Coming out of this leadership race the Conservative party is stronger, better and more united than ever. I think Andrew Scheer is frankly Justin Trudeau’s biggest nightmare,” Cooper said.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.