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Read Andrew Scheer’s full resignation speech

Andrew Scheer announces resignation as Conservative leader: FULL speech
WATCH: Andrew Scheer's full resignation speech

After serving two and a half years as leader of the Conservative Party, Andrew Scheer announced Thursday he is stepping aside for family reasons.

“In order to chart the course ahead, this party, this movement, needs someone who can give 100 per cent to the efforts,” he said.

“And after some conversations with my kids, my loved ones, I felt it was time to put my family first.”

Scheer’s departure comes amid strife within the party over his leadership — some of which spilled over into the public — after the Conservatives failed to defeat the Liberals in the October election.

READ MORE: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer resigns, vows to stay on until new leader chosen

Global News has also learned that Scheer’s resignation comes amid revelations that he paid for his kids’ private school with party funds, according to Conservative sources.

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The party’s executive director said in a statement he made the “standard” offer to cover the expense of moving Scheer’s family to Ottawa, which included covering a “differential” in costs associated with his children’s education.

Speaking at the House of Commons, the Opposition leader said in his resignation speech he intends to stay on as the member of Parliament for Regina—Qu’Appelle and continue as leader until the party names a replacement.

Andrew Scheer resigns as leader of the Conservative Party
Andrew Scheer resigns as leader of the Conservative Party

Here’s the full transcript of the remarks he made in English:

Mr. Speaker, I was elected to this house in 2004, at the ripe old age of 25. In many ways, I grew up in this chamber. Some may say I haven’t yet grown up but I was barely out of university, newly married with our first child on the way.

Since then I’ve had five beautiful children and my firstborn is now 14. He’s all arms and legs and I think he’s going to be taller than me very soon, Mr. Speaker.

MPs of all parties shake hands with Andrew Scheer in House of Commons
MPs of all parties shake hands with Andrew Scheer in House of Commons

I’ve logged many hours flying back and forth to Regina and Ottawa and all across this wonderful country. And alongside my friends, the Conservative caucus, we’ve accomplished a lot on both the government and opposition side of the benches.

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And most importantly, we’ve kept our party united and strong. 

Which is why today I felt it was appropriate to speak to my friends and colleagues in the House of Commons about one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I just informed my colleagues in the Conservative caucus that I will be resigning as the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

READ MORE: Scheer tries to rally Tories to take on Trudeau amid leadership attacks

And I’ve asked the Conservative Party National Council — I will be asking the Conservative Party National Council — to immediately begin the process of organizing a leadership election.

As our party embarks on this exciting opportunity, electing a new Conservative leader and Canada’s next prime minister, I intend to stay on as leader of the party and the official Opposition.

Scheer jokes he’s ‘first person in Canadian history’ to get more votes than a Trudeau
Scheer jokes he’s ‘first person in Canadian history’ to get more votes than a Trudeau

Serving as leader of the party that I love so much has been the opportunity and challenge of a lifetime. And this was not a decision I came to lightly. This was a decision I came to after many long, hard conversations with friends and family over the past two months since the election campaign.

This has been an incredible challenge for our family to keep up with the pace that is required to lead a party and a caucus into a general election.

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My wife Jill has been absolutely heroic. 

But in order to chart the course ahead, this party, this movement, needs someone who can give 100 per cent to the efforts.

And after some conversations with my kids, my loved ones, I felt it was time to put my family first.

Scheer says he’ll stay on as MP after announcing resignation as Conservative leader
Scheer says he’ll stay on as MP after announcing resignation as Conservative leader

Our Conservative team is always stronger when we are united. When fiscal conservatives, red Tories, social conservatives, libertarians, Quebec nationalists, conservatives in rural Canada and urban Canada, and east and west come together, great things happen.

We elect strong Conservative governments that deliver lower taxes, smaller government, more freedom and stronger human rights.

The party that we’ve all built together is far too important for one individual. Our party is not a cult of personality; it’s not shaped by whoever’s name is on the masthead. But by the hundreds of thousands of Conservatives who pound in lawn signs, sit on their riding associations and donate a few dollars every month.

READ MORE: Tories won the popular vote but the Liberals will govern. Here’s why

And as our party begins to embark on this exciting opportunity, electing a new leader, my only ask to my fellow Conservatives is this: let’s stay united.

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Let’s stay focused on our one shared goal and our one shared priority — to deliver a strong Conservative government who can unite our country and make life better for all Canadians, for the oil worker out of a job, for the senior who is choosing between heating and eating, for Canada’s position on the world stage.

Scheer tells Trudeau he’ll get ‘no free rides’ as Conservatives search for new leader
Scheer tells Trudeau he’ll get ‘no free rides’ as Conservatives search for new leader

I believe in this party. I believe in our movement. I believe that we will be the government after the next election.

I got involved as a teen because I love this party. I ran because I love this party. And I ran for leader because I wanted to help this party. I will continue to serve my Conservative caucus. I will continue to serve the great people in the fantastic riding of Regina—Qu’Appelle.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished during my time as leader. We kept our party united and strong. We knocked the Liberals down to a minority. We increased seats all over this country.

READ MORE: A brief timeline of Andrew Scheer's career on Parliament Hill

Whoever the hundreds of thousands of Conservatives across this country choose to lead our party into the next election, that person will have my 100 per cent support.

And my message to the prime minister and the Liberals in this House is this: During this leadership election, there will be no free rides in the House of Commons.

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Scheer asks Conservative Party to ‘stay unified’ as he announces resignation in House of Commons
Scheer asks Conservative Party to ‘stay unified’ as he announces resignation in House of Commons

We’ve already hit the ground running. We had a 100 — well 1,000 per cent batting average — for a brief period of time Tuesday evening. We might see if we can increase that batting average. But we are going to continue to be here every single day to represent our constituents, perform our duties as parliamentarians to put Canadians and Canada first.

I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for indulging me in this statement. I want to thank my colleagues in the Conservative Party. 

(Remarks in French)

I have made this decision because it’s the best thing for our party. Our party needs someone who can give everything they’ve got. And I’ve always been honest with my colleagues, I’ve always been honest with everybody, I know that the road ahead, the stress that would put on my family, I can’t give them that 100 per cent assurance.

So, I know the next person will. And I know I can speak on behalf of all our team that the next leader of this party will have the support required from these benches to make sure we are successful in the next election.