Canadian opposition leader Andrew Scheer is facing strong calls within his own party for his ouster tomorrow for failing to lead the Conservatives to win last month’s general election, calling for unity within the party in a bid to retain his post.
The conservative leader told hundreds of members in Alberta that he would remain a “fighter” despite the efforts of critics trying to drive him out. Andrew Scheer used an audience from the heart of Alberta’s party stronghold to defend his leadership after a week of political criticism.
He spoke to about 1,600 Conservative Party members as part of the start of the annual Conservative Party general meeting in Calgary.
Despite some cheers from those present, especially when he attacked the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and called for the abolition of unpopular federal energy policies, quite a few party members left the hall in a sign of dissatisfaction with his leadership.
Addressing his critics directly, Scheer said that he is not completely interested in what all those who speak, the naysayers and the people who make their money by saying divide our party.
These divisions “divert attention from the real issue of a leftist movement pushing to shut down the energy sector, stifle free speech and destroy free-market principles”, he said.
“If we take the bait and start fighting between us now, we give them the final victory”, he said, warning that Trudeau would try to return to the polls as soon as possible to try to restore the majority government again.
The Conservative leader said he was deeply disappointed with the election results and would listen and learn from people in his party about what could be done better next time.
Scheer’s remarks are an attempt to calm the mood among Conservative Party members who believe they have lost the easiest election they could win after a series of problems and crises suffered by the Liberal Party leader and prime minister, Justin Trudeau.
Conservative lawmaker and former minister Ed Fast said he had rejected a place in Scheer’s shadow government, saying the party leader needed to be surrounded by people who fully supported him.