Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he’s disappointed that Canadians elected a Liberal government this week, but he’s also looking to the future.
“It’s always difficult to fall short of goals that we’ve set ourselves,” he told Mercedes Stephenson on an episode of the West Block that will air on Sunday.
“And, you know, there’s no one more disappointed than me in the results of the campaign, but there’s no one more eager to get it right and to fix the issues that didn’t work this time.”
Despite getting a slightly greater share of the popular vote in Monday’s federal election, the Conservatives did not defeat the governing Liberals, who won a 157-seat minority government.
The Tories came in second place with 121 seats after dominating the Prairies but failing to capture much support in the crucial Greater Toronto Area or in Atlantic Canada.
Save for one NDP seat in Edmonton, the Conservatives painted Alberta and Saskatchewan completely blue on election night.
Premiers in both of those provinces are calling for reforms to equalization — Ottawa’s means of addressing wealth gaps between the provinces — in the name of what they’re calling fairness.
Scheer, who is aligned with Jason Kenney, Scott Moe and some other premiers in wanting to end the carbon tax, appears to be in their corner on this issue as well.
Asked whether he agrees with Moe’s call for a “new deal” for Saskatchewan, Scheer told Stephenson that he understands where premiers in Western Canada are coming from.
“I’ve always believed that western premiers were right to have frustrations about the equalization formula,” he said, adding that he criticized the Liberals during the campaign for keeping the formula the same without consultation.
Scheer’s views on social issues were brought up frequently by his opponents on the campaign trail.
Scheer, who is personally against abortion and has never attended an LGBTQ2 Pride parade as Tory leader, said he’s tried to remain “open” about his personal views while the Liberals sought to sow division among Canadians.
The Conservative leader isn’t reconsidering his decision to not attend Pride parades, which other federal leaders have participated in.
“I won’t march in parades, but I will ensure that our party is as inclusive and open and that we fight for equality rights of all Canadians. And that we hold the government to account for not doing more, for example, to help people who are persecuted for their sexual orientation coming to Canada.”
Watch Mercedes Stephenson’s full interview with Andrew Scheer on The West Block Sunday at 11 a.m. EDT.