Andrew Scheer

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The Honourable
Andrew Scheer
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Scheer in 2017
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
May 27, 2017
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Preceded by Rona Ambrose
Leader of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
May 27, 2017
Deputy Denis Lebel (2017)
Lisa Raitt (2017–present)
Preceded by Rona Ambrose (interim)
Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons
In office
November 18, 2015 – September 13, 2016
Leader Rona Ambrose (interim)
Preceded by Peter Julian
Succeeded by Candice Bergen
35th Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
June 2, 2011 – December 3, 2015
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General David Johnston
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Peter Milliken
Succeeded by Geoff Regan
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Regina—Qu'Appelle
Assumed office
June 28, 2004
Preceded by Lorne Nystrom
Personal details
Born Andrew James Scheer
(1979-05-20) May 20, 1979 (age 39)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political party Conservative
Other political
Alliance (until 2003)
Spouse(s) Jill Ryan (m. 2003)
Relations Jon Ryan (brother-in-law)
Children 5
Residence Stornoway
Alma mater University of Ottawa
University of Regina (BA)
Website Party website

Andrew James Scheer, PC MP (born May 20, 1979) is a Canadian politician who has been the Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Official Opposition since 2017 and the Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Regina—Qu'Appelle in the House of Commons since 2004.

Elected to the riding of Regina—Qu'Appelle at the age of 25, Scheer was elected Speaker of the House of Commons at age 32, making him the youngest Speaker in the chamber’s history.[1][2]

On September 28, 2016, Scheer announced his bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party, running under the slogan “Real conservative. Real leader.”[3] Described as a "true blue Tory", Scheer is a staunch opponent of a federal carbon tax and has stated that he would balance the federal budget within two years of forming a government.[4][5][6] On May 27, 2017, he was elected Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada on the 13th and final ballot of the leadership election, with 50.95% of the vote to opponent Maxime Bernier’s 49.05%.[7]

During his political career, Scheer has been compared to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and has been seen as “Harper's boy" by political opponents[8] and called "Harper with a smile"[9] or "Stephen Harper 2.0" by journalists and himself.[10][11]

Early life and career

Scheer was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, the son of Mary Gerarda Therese (Enright), a nurse, and James Scheer, a librarian and proofreader, who is a deacon of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa.[12][13][14] He has two sisters. Part of his family is from Romania.[15][16] Scheer graduated from Immaculata High School, and then studied history and politics at the University of Ottawa. While attending university, Scheer worked in the correspondence department of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition (OLO). He moved to Regina after meeting his future wife Jill Ryan at university and finished his BA at the University of Regina. Instead of returning to Ottawa, Scheer worked at Shenher Insurance, a company owned Mike Schenher, a friend of Scheer. Scheer also worked as campaign manager for Schenher unsuccessful campaign as a Saskatchewan Party candidate for Regina Walsh Acres during the Saskatchewan general election of 2003. He, also worked in the constituency office of a Canadian Alliance MP, Larry Spencer in Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre and worked as a waiter.[17][13]

Political career

First years in the House of Commons

Scheer was elected at age 25 as a Conservative candidate in the federal election of 2004 in the riding of Regina—Qu'Appelle, beating New Democratic Party MP Lorne Nystrom, then longest-serving member of the House of Commons by 861 votes.[1] Near the end of the race, Scheer accused Nystrom of being soft on child pornography.[18] He was re-elected in the federal election of 2006, once again defeating Nystrom, this time by a margin of 2,740 votes.[19]

In April 2006, during the 39th Canadian Parliament, Scheer was named as Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole, one of three deputy speakers and one of the youngest Members of Parliament to serve in that role in Commonwealth history. He sponsored one bill, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (motor vehicle theft) (Bill C-343), which would create minimum sentences for those convicted of motor vehicle theft.[citation needed]

On November 21, 2008, during the 40th Canadian Parliament, he was named Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons and Chairman of Committees of the Whole, succeeding New Democrat MP Bill Blaikie.[20]

In a 2010 interview, Scheer stated that he stayed with his parents when in Ottawa, explaining that it "saves the taxpayers money." This claim was challenged in the Huffington Post, who noted that Scheer claimed over $23,000 in MP accommodation and per diem expenses in 2009-2010. His Chief of Staff later clarified that he stayed with his parents a "fair bit" of the time, but also used hotels.[21]

Speaker of the House of Commons

When the Conservative Party won a majority at the federal election in 2011, Scheer's experience as Deputy Speaker led many to consider him the front-runner to be elected Speaker of the House of Commons.[2][22] On June 2, 2011, Scheer defeated Denise Savoie, the lone opposition candidate and only woman in the sixth round of balloting. Scheer became the youngest House Speaker in Canadian history and the first speaker to represent a Saskatchewan riding.[23] Liberal MPs, who opposed Scheer's candidacy, criticized the NDP for voting for their own party member instead of tipping the balance toward Conservative MP Lee Richardson based on the MPs' beliefs that Scheer was "Harper's boy".[8]

During his tenure, opposition parties expressed confidence in Scheer due to his political status. However, individual opposition MPs and journalists were critical of some of his decisions. Liberal MP Irwin Cotler questioned his impartially due to a decision over a robocall incident with Campaign Research (it was reported that Scheer was a client of the firm).[24] NDP Leader Tom Mulcair criticized him for failing to intervene with Conservative MP Paul Calandra, who failed to answer Mulcair's questions during Question Period and instead responded with non-sequiturs about supporting Israel.[25]

During the 2011 Canadian federal election voter suppression scandal, opposition politicians raised concerns over Scheer's interventions to block questions after The Globe and Mail revealed that his riding association loaned $3,000 to Marty Burke while Burke's campaign was under scrutiny by Elections Canada over the incident.[26] In addition, journalists pointed out there were similar incidents with his treatment of other opposition politicians.[27] Scheer responded by stating that previous Speakers have ruled that they have no authority over the content of what politicians say, and he is bound by that precedent.[28]

After 2015

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Scheer with his leadership team (Mark Strahl, Alain Rayes, Lisa Raitt, Chris Warkentin, and Candice Bergen) shortly after his leadership victory in 2017

Scheer was re-elected in the 2015 federal election that defeated the Conservative government.[29] He was appointed Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons by Leader of the Official Opposition and interim Conservative party leader Rona Ambrose. He thought about running for the position of interim Party Leader but was dissuaded by fellow caucus MP Chris Warkentin, who pointed out that the interim leader cannot take the permanent position.[30] On September 13, 2016, he announced his resignation outside a party caucus meeting in Halifax in order to explore a bid for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party.[31]

2017 leadership election

On September 28, 2016, Scheer announced his bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party, and that he had the support of 32 members of the Conservative caucus.[3][32] On May 27, 2017, Scheer was elected as the second full-time leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, beating runner up Maxime Bernier and more than 12 others with 50.95% of the vote through 13 rounds.[7]

During the race, Scheer did not attend the Campaign Life Coalition's March for Life but sent Garrett Genius to make a statement on his behalf.[33]

Scheer was criticized by opposition politicians for removing his campaign platform after winning the Conservative leadership race.[34][35]

The day after the election it was revealed that Hamish Marshall, Scheer's campaign manager, was listed as an IT specialist and one of the directors of the news outlet The Rebel Media.[36][37][38] Marshall has also been named Conservative campaign chair for the 43rd Canadian federal election.[39] When The Globe and Mail asked Scheer if he knew that Marshall worked for the Rebel during the leadership campaign, he responded: "I didn't ask Hamish about every client he had". Later, a conservative spokesperson clarified that Scheer was aware that the Rebel was one of Marshall's many clients, but did not know the specifics.[40][41]

Leader of the Official Opposition

After the Unite the Right rally, Scheer denounced the rally stating "Conservatives condemn these acts of racism, violence and hatred. Prayers are with victims, their families, and people of #Charlottesville". He later stated that he would no longer be doing interviews on Rebel Media due to its “editorial directions" and coverage of the incident. [42]

In September 2017, Scheer apologized to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna after Tory MP Gerry Ritz called her a 'Climate Barbie'.[43]

The Globe and Mail reported that Scheer was not posting details of his own private fundraising events, while at the same time criticizing the Liberal Party for the same, stating that he should not be bound by the same ethical standards he demanded of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, because the Conservatives are not in government.[44]

During the Lac-St.Jean byelection, Scheer stated that he is opposed to the pending legalization of marijuana and made it an issue during the campaign.[45]

During the Surrey Newton byelection, when Scheer was touring an east Surrey potato-chip plant, he mentioned the conservative candidate, former MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, by stating “She has deep connections to this community including living here for a significant period of time".[46]

On, October 31, 2017, it was reported that Scheer had three real estate limited partnerships (RELPs): investment vehicles that reduce the holders' tax burden by writing off up to 50 percent of their initial investment, for those who make an average income of $75,000 or more in Saskatchewan. Scheer invested $75,000 in the RELPs, and his holdings were previously disclosed to Mary Dawson, the ethics commissioner.[47]

On January 4, 2018, he expelled Senator Lynn Beyak from the conservative caucus, after she refused to remove one of her letters that suggested Indigenous people want to get things for “no effort". He also stated that "Racism will not be tolerated in the Conservative caucus or Conservative Party of Canada".[48] Scheer said that his office was only aware of the letters on January 2, but Garnet Angeconeb, a residential school survivor, stated that he emailed Scheer and Conservative Senate Leader Larry Smith about them on September 15, 2017, and did not get a response.[49] In response, Beyak said neither Scheer nor anyone from his office contacted her to take down a letter.[50] A senior Conservative source confirmed Beyak's accusation.[51]

After it was revealed that the 2015 Conservative campaign team knew about sexual misconduct allegations against former Conservative MP Rick Dykstra, Scheer responded by stating he could not speak to "decisions made by past campaign teams." However,after Conservative MPs Maxime Bernier and Brad Trost called for an investigation into the party's handling of Dykstra's candidacy while Michelle Rempel criticized the party's decision, Scheer called for a third-party investigation on January 31, 2018. In addition, Scheer was asked if he had ever acted inappropriately in the past, in which he responded by "No," and "A good friend of mine when I first got elected said nothing good happens in Ottawa after 8:00 and I've tried to live by that rule." [52]On February 6, 2018, Scheer declined to comment on the fate of those involved in the mishandling of the allegations against Dykstra during the 2015 election or say whether those involved remain welcome into the party.[53]

Scheer traveled to the United Kingdom in March 2018 to "lay the groundword" for a Canada–UK trade agreement, assuming he become prime minister after 2019 election .[54] In London he met with prime minister Theresa May, foreign secretary Boris Johnson, and other ministers including Liam Fox and Sajid Javid.[55]

Political positions

Scheer's campaign for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership was run under the slogan "Real conservative. Real leader." He avoided advocating the social conservative issues that some of the candidates championed, saying that he wanted to "reach a broader audience of Canadians." Positions on which he took a strong stance included scrapping the carbon tax and being "tough on crime".[56] Scheer is considered a Blue Tory[4] and is critical of the polices of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, having also been critical of Trudeau's late father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.[57] Scheer considered former Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and British MEP Daniel Hannan as political influences.[58] It has also been pointed out that Scheer shares similarities with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.[59] Scheer described American Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as “strong conservative voices” during the 2016 Manning Center Conference.[60] Unlike other candidates, Scheer's leadership team was focused less on headlines or eye-grabbing policy and more on data and organizing.[61]

Economic policy

During the Conservative leadership race, Scheer stated that he would balance the federal budget within two years of forming government.[62]

Scheer says he wants to make maternity and parental leave less expensive for families. He has promised to make employment insurance for parental and maternity benefits tax-free.[63] He wants to introduce a tax credit to families who send their children to private schools. Scheer also proposes raising the limit on how much employment income a parent can earn each week while on leave. He has vowed to remove HST/GST from home heating bills and lower business taxes.[64][65]

Scheer has expressed support for free markets stating that he believes in "a free market where businesses profit by having the best product or service."[66]

Scheer was a major advocate for the removal of the Canadian Wheat Board.[67]Scheer proposed a policy to mandate the inclusion of national flag decals on gas pumps to highlight "Canadian-sourced, ethically produced oil."[5]


Scheer has described his opposition to a federally-imposed carbon tax. He has said that if he is to form government, he will act to repeal any elements of a plan to implement a carbon tax enacted by the Trudeau government.[5]

In October 2016, Scheer voted against the ratification of the Paris Agreement.[68] However, he voted to reaffirm Canadian ratification on the Paris Agreement in June 2017.

Scheer told the Le Soleil that he supported federal funds to a tunnel between Quebec City and Lévis suggesting that it would increase vehicle capacity and improve the flow of traffic. Also, Scheer stated that he does not support a "war on cars" when supporting a tunnel between Quebec City and Levis.[69]

Freedom of speech

Scheer has 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, though after University of Toronto said it would not open space on its campus for an event hosted by the Canadian Nationalist Party, he stated “I respect the right for universities to determine which outside groups they give a platform to. And so that’s within their purview" and that his policy would be based on “an objective set of criteria.”[70][71] When asked if a university like St.Paul blocking a film on abortion would fit in his criteria, Scheer said no.[72]

Senate policy

Scheer opposes the non-partisan Senate being perused by the current government and suggested that he would appoint people to the Senate "who share my goal of lowering taxes and growing the private sector.” He also said “they would be conservative senators who would implement the conservative vision for Canada.”[73] On September 16, 2017 Scheer criticized Senator Lynn Beyak following her comments about Indigenous people, but stated that it "no longer has a role" in the Conservative caucus. He stated that any decision to remove her would be made by the leader of the Conservatives in the Senate, Larry Smith.[74] Beyak was eventually expelled from the caucus on January 4, 2018.[75] Scheer has ordered the senate conservative to block the passage of the Cannabis Act.[76]

Social policy

Scheer describes himself as a feminist.[77]

During the 2004 election campaign, Scheer opposed same-sex marriage.[78] As an individual MP, he voiced his opinion in the House of Commons against recognizing same-sex marriage and voted in favour of a 2006 motion to re-open debate on the issue.[79] Scheer has stated that, as leader of the Conservative caucus — where there is no consensus on the issue — he will not try to reopen the debate on same-sex marriage.[80][81][82] In 2016, Scheer supported the removal of "traditional definition of marriage" from the conservative party policy book.[83]

In 2005, Scheer defended Bishop Fred Henry's statements against the legalization of same-sex marriage,[84] stating "to think that a Catholic bishop must answer to a civil authority over matters of faith is abominable. It is abhorrent to me, to other Catholics and to every member of every faith community."[82]

Scheer voted against Bill C-14, which allows practitioners to assist in the suicide of mentally competent adults with "enduring and intolerable suffering" in cases where death is "reasonably foreseeable."[85][79]

Scheer is considered pro life by the Campaign Life Coalition and "has an impeccable pro life voting record" in the House of Commons.[79][86] He has said that he will respect the Conservative Party's official policy on abortion, which currently states, "A Conservative government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion".[80][80] Scheer reiterated his stance on abortion during a 2017 CBC News interview, stating that he still considers himself pro-life, but would not re-open the issue if elected as Prime Minister.[87] In 2008, he was disappointed when the Order of Canada was given to abortionist Henry Morgentaler, and annoyed that his announcement came on Canada Day.[88][89] Scheer accused the Liberal government of "imposing" the prime minister's views on upholding "women's rights and women's reproductive rights" when faith groups are applying for funding for summer jobs programs.[90]

Scheer was critical of Justin Trudeau over comments made by the governor general Julie Payette on questioning people who support creationism stating that millions were “offended’ by her comments.[91]

Scheer voted against Bill C-210, which altered the lyrics of the national anthem to a gender-neutral form. He expressed disappointment on the bill's passing in 2016 and stated that he would sing the "old version" until the law received royal assent, which was the day after his comments.[92][93]

Foreign policy

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Andrew Scheer celebrates Ukrainian Independence Day in Etobicoke. August 19, 2017.

Scheer has publicly denounced the Liberal government's decision to end its lawsuit with Omar Khadr for what was reported to be a $10.5 million settlement. Scheer argued that Khadr's compensation should have been limited to the right of repatriation, which Khadr had received in 2012.[94]

In 2016, he publicly voiced his support for the UK's decision to vote in favour of Brexit during the referendum.[95]

Scheer was one of thirteen Canadians banned from travelling to Russia under retaliatory sanctions imposed by President Vladimir Putin in March 2014.[96] Scheer supports sending peacekeepers to Ukraine to Russia border believing that "The defence of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be a priority for Canada's government on the international stage."[97]

Drug policy

When asked about his stance on Canada's potential legalization of marijuana, he said though he is not in favour of the motion, "I am very realistic, and once it's legal in a short period of time there's going to be a lot of people that work for companies that distribute it... so we have to be very realistic as a party."[98] Recently, he has refused to repeat these remarks in the interview he gave to the Canadian Press and has not stated if his party plans to support or repeal the Cannabis Act during the 2019 election.[76]

In the leadership race, Scheer accused Justin Trudeau of wanting to legalize heroin.[99] Scheer is critical of safe-injection sites arguing that "the government makes it quote unquote safer to inject illicit drugs."[100] On November 2, 2017, Scheer accused Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor on Twitter of trying to "legalize" hard drugs — a word that he later corrected to "decriminalize".[101][102] A spokesperson from Scheer's office admitted that the Health Minister may have not said the word "decriminalization", but countered that she indicated it in such statements as "rather than prosecuting" and "diverting people out of the criminal justice system".[103]

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Andrew Scheer attending a rally for Conservative by-election candidate Dasong Zou in Toronto


Scheer wants to prioritize helping those he considers the most vulnerable refugees, namely religious minorities like Christians in the Middle East who face death for conversion away from Islam.[104] He prefers to help refugees integrate through private sponsorship instead of government sponsorship. He contends that the refugees who are currently struggling to find housing, jobs and language training do so because of the Liberal Party "using a devastating tragedy for political purposes".[105]

Personal life

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Scheer and his family in July 2017

Scheer married Jill Ryan at the Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina in 2003.[106] They have five children: Thomas, Grace, Madeline, Henry and Mary.[107][108] Jill Scheer's younger brother is professional football player Jon Ryan.[109] Another of her brothers, Steve Ryan, ran for the Saskatchewan NDP in the 2007 and 2011 provincial elections.[110]

He and his family attend Sunday Mass at Canadian Martyrs or Good Samaritan parishes.[78] Scheer is an active member of the Knights of Columbus.[111] During the leadership race, Scheer revealed that his children were attending a private faith-based school.[112]

Electoral history

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Andrew Scheer 16,486 44.70 -8.49 $118,170.22
New Democratic Nial Kuyek 11,144 30.21 -8.44 $65,386.08
Liberal Della Anaquod 8,401 22.78 +18.02 $21,967.01
Green Greg Chatterson 852 2.31 -0.67 $3,114.91
Total valid votes/expense limit 36,883 100.0     $202,239.34
Total rejected ballots 152
Turnout 37,035
Eligible voters 52,220
Source: Elections Canada[113][114]
2011 federal election redistributed results[115]
Party Vote  %
  Conservative 16,197 53.19
  New Democratic 11,769 38.65
  Liberal 1,449 4.76
  Green 908 2.98
  Others 127 0.42
Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Andrew Scheer 15,896 53.5 +1.8 $78,726
New Democratic Fred Clipsham 11,419 38.4 +6.3 $63,800
Liberal Jackie Miller 1,400 4.7 -5.8 $15,991
Green Greg Chatterson 879 3.0 -2.8 $9,100
Independent Jeff Breti 127 0.4 $18,116
Total valid votes/expense limit 29,721 100.0   $81,793
Total rejected ballots 97 0.3 0.0
Turnout 29,818 61.7 +4
Eligible voters 48,300
Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Andrew Scheer 14,068 51.7 +10.4 $78,480
New Democratic Janice Bernier 8,699 32.1 -0.3 $44,446
Liberal Rod Flaman 2,809 10.5 -12.7 $17,222
Green Greg Chatterson 1,556 5.8 +2.5 $8,194
Total valid votes/expense limit 27,135 100.0   $78,949
Total rejected ballots 81 0.3 0.0
Turnout 27,213 57 -7
Canadian federal election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Andrew Scheer 12,753 41.3 +5.5 $71,773
New Democratic Lorne Nystrom 10,041 32.4 -0.3 $50,501
Liberal Allyce Herle 7,134 23.1 -4.7 $68,287
Green Brett Dolter 1,016 3.3 +1.0 $545
Total valid votes 30,944 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 93 0.3 0.0
Turnout 31,037 64 +8
Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Andrew Scheer 10,012 35.8 -5.0 $68,776
New Democratic Lorne Nystrom 9,151 32.7 -8.6 $46,290
Liberal Allyce Herle 7,793 27.8 +9.9 $54,913
Green Deanna Robilliard 639 2.3  
Christian Heritage Mary Sylvia Nelson 293 1.0 $4,213
Independent Lorne Edward Widger 106 0.4 $728
Total valid votes 27,994 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 89 0.3 -0.2
Turnout 28,083 56.2 -4.9

Note: Conservative vote is compared to the Canadian Alliance vote in 2000 election.


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External links

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Lorne Nystrom
Member of Parliament
for Regina-Qu'Appelle

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Blaikie
Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Denise Savoie
Preceded by
Peter Milliken
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Geoff Regan
Preceded by
Peter Julian
Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Candice Bergen
Preceded by
Rona Ambrose
Leader of the Opposition
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rona Ambrose
Leader of the Conservative Party