“We ran an excellent campaign from top to bottom, for that we should all be proud,” Scheer said, calling his party strong and united.
Skirting traditional election protocol, Scheer began his speech before NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh wrapped his up in Burnaby, B.C. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did the same, beginning his victory speech in Montreal just after Scheer.
As of 1 a.m. ET, the Tories had 122 seats out of 338 in the House of Commons. They lost to the Liberal party, which is poised to form a minority government.
During the speech, Scheer said he called Trudeau to congratulate him on his victory.
However, Scheer also reacted to the Liberals’ loss of a majority government. He said political pundits expected Trudeau to stay in power for eight or even 12 years, but suggested election results indicate that won’t happen.
“Mr. Trudeau, when your government falls, Conservatives will be ready and we will win.”
Scheer also boasted that the Tories were leading the popular vote over the Liberals, and that Trudeau lost support in almost every province.
“This is how it starts,” he said. “This is the first step.”
Scheer recalled former prime minister Stephen Harper’s first election as leader, in which he was defeated by Liberals’ Paul Martin. Harper later went on to lead government for nearly a decade.
Despite Monday’s loss, Tories made gains on their seat count — they won 99 seats in the 2015 federal election.
“Now, we’re heading back to Ottawa with a much bigger team, with more support from coast to coast and with an endorsement from the Canadian people that we are the government in waiting.”
The Tory leader said the party will continue to stand up for “Conservative values,” which will help Canada get “back on track.”
Scheer said some of those values include freedom of speech, thought and religion.
“And beliefs that free markets, balanced budgets and small governments are the best ways to create prosperity and lift people out of poverty,” he said.
He added that Canada is not defined by one political party or government, but by those values.
“Ladies and gentlemen, our story is just beginning,” Scheer said.