Advertisement
Politics

Liberals post video of Scheer sitting during ‘O Canada’; Tory leader says they politicized anthem

WATCH: Asked about a video from 2016 that showed him not standing for the singing of the national anthem in the House of Commons, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Wednesday that he did not stand because the Liberals were using the anthem for a "political statement."

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said on Wednesday that he stayed seated while members of Parliament sang O Canada after voting to change the lyrics three years ago because the Liberal government was using Canada’s national anthem for “a political statement.”

Scheer’s comments came a few hours after Marc Garneau ⁠— a longtime MP and minister of transport in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet ⁠— tweeted video of MPs singing O Canada in the House of Commons during the third reading of C-210, a bill that sought to amend the lyrics of the national anthem to make them gender-neutral.

Scheer remained seated and appears, in the footage, to be looking at his phone.

Trudeau criticizes Conservatives for running ‘nasty negative campaign’
Trudeau criticizes Conservatives for running ‘nasty negative campaign’
“I’ve served my country in uniform, in Parliament and in Space,” Garneau wrote. “I’m shaking my head watching this. Watch [Andrew Scheer] sit through O Canada while MPs from all parties sing it in celebration.”

Story continues below advertisement

MPs voted 225-74 in favour of the bill at third reading on June 15, 2016. Scheer was among those who voted against it.

Scheer — who became Conservative leader in 2017 — was asked later on Wednesday at a press conference in Essex why he stayed seated during the national anthem back in 2016.

“At the time, the Liberals were using our national anthem for a political statement,” he said in response to a reporter’s questions.

Scheer warns voters against idea of Liberal-NDP coalition
Scheer warns voters against idea of Liberal-NDP coalition

Garneau tweeted out the attack on Scheer the same morning Trudeau accused the Conservatives during a campaign event in Quebec of running “one of the dirtiest, nastiest campaigns” in Canadian history.

“I think Conservatives need to continue to be called out on the nasty, negative campaign that they are running, because Canadians deserve better,” the Liberal leader told reporters and supporters.

Global News asked the Liberal Party why it released the video of Scheer on Wednesday and while simultaneously accusing the Tories of divisive campaign tactics.

READ MORE: Conservatives running ‘one of the dirtiest, nastiest campaigns’, Trudeau alleges

A Liberal Party spokesperson provided a brief statement in response but did not directly answer the questions.

“The tweet speaks for itself. It’s surprising Mr. Scheer chose not to stand for O Canada,” the statement said.

Story continues below advertisement

The bill to make O Canada gender neutral was introduced by former Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, who died in 2016. The changes to the anthem became law in 2018.

Global News asked the Conservative Party separately why Scheer was sitting down during the anthem in June 2016. A spokesperson for the party directed Global News to Scheer’s answer at the press conference in Essex.

Voter trust low among party leaders
Voter trust low among party leaders

Asked about Trudeau’s comments on the Conservatives’ behaviour during the election campaign, the spokesperson alleged in return that the Liberal leader has been “dividing Canadians” and “pitting regions of our great country against each other.”

In Essex, Scheer also said he would “take no lessons from Marc Garneau on standing up for our veterans or for our men and women in uniform.”

“This is a guy who sat around the cabinet table knowing what Justin Trudeau was doing to Mark Norman, knowing that Justin Trudeau was telling veterans that they were asking for more than he could give,” Scheer said. “So I will take no lessons from Marc Garneau about respect for our armed forces.”

Federal Election 2019: Conservatives viewed as most likely to keep promises, but voters remain skeptical: Ipsos
Federal Election 2019: Conservatives viewed as most likely to keep promises, but voters remain skeptical: Ipsos

Garneau is seeking re-election in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount in Montreal. He was first elected to Parliament in 2008.

Election day is October 21.

Story continues below advertisement

With files from the Canadian Press