Who is Andrew Scheer?
Scheer will be familiar to anyone who has followed Canadian politics closely over the last decade. The upstart winner was first elected to federal office as MP for Regina—Qu’Appelle in 2004, and became Speaker of the House of Commons on June 2, 2011.
Scheer remains the youngest House Speaker in Canadian history, and he’s the first Speaker ever to become a party leader.
So what does he stand for?
The 38-year-old campaigned on balanced budgets within two years of forming government, supporting supply management in the dairy sector, scrapping the Liberal plan to price carbon, making employment insurance for parental and maternity benefits tax-free and offering a tax credit to families who send their children to independent schools or home-school them.
Scheer, himself a father of five children, has also promised that universities or colleges “that do not foster a culture of free speech and inquiry on campus” will not receive federal funding under his government.
On immigration, Scheer has said Canada should be prioritizing the most vulnerable refugees, namely religious minorities like Christians in the Middle East who face death for conversion away from Islam.
All of these policy proposals will need to be tested in front of the party’s membership and caucus before the next election, and then Canadian voters will have their say as well.
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Scheer’s French is passable, but he’s not fluently bilingual.
Late Saturday, the Liberal Party of Canada put out a statement saying that “with so much at stake for Canadians, Liberals are looking forward to a robust debate with Andrew Scheer on how to continue Canada’s real progress to strengthen our middle class and support every family working hard to join it.”
The governing party is already making attempts to frame Scheer as far-right and too socially conservative to gain wide support among Canadians.
“He has opposed equal marriage and a woman’s right to choose, and has no plan to grow the economy or support Canada’s middle class,” the party’s release read.
While he is considered socially conservative, Scheer has said on the record that he won’t repeal the current government’s assisted death law, but add more protections for the mentally ill, young people, and doctors or nurses who have conscientious objections to assisted death.
He has also confirmed he won’t roll back the Liberals’ new marijuana legislation once it passes, and that he has no plans to try and re-open debates surrounding same-sex marriage or abortion in Canada.
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