Friday December 13, 2019
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday December 13, 2019
Conservatives face an awkward question: What if Scheer wasn’t the problem?
On the simplest level, Andrew Scheer was merely a political leader who failed — a politician who made too many mistakes and suffered self-inflicted wounds that cut too deep.
The larger legacy of his time as Conservative leader may end up being that of a politician who saw the times pass him by — yesterday’s man, his ideas and positions out of step with a significant majority of voters.
But that depends on where his party and Canadian politics go next.
Scheer’s sudden (but not entirely surprising) exit on Thursday was quickly accompanied by reports that the Conservative Party had somehow been covering part of the cost of his children’s education at a private school. That might not seem like a problem in and of itself, at least not a significant one.
But Scheer had just spent an election campaign pitching himself as a middle-class everyman, a stark contrast to an affluent and privileged Liberal leader — a prime minister Scheer and other Conservatives had ridiculed for using the budget of his official residence to hire nannies.
The matter of financial assistance also fits a pattern.
Late in this fall’s campaign, Scheer had to admit that he was a dual citizen of Canada and the United States — despite having previously questioned the dual citizenship of former governor general Michaëlle Jean.
That revelation came shortly after Scheer was compelled to admit that he had not been licensed as an insurance broker, despite having claimed to have worked as a broker before entering politics (he also had only worked in an insurance office for six or seven months).
While all of this was going on, the Conservatives were still loudly insisting that Justin Trudeau was “not as advertised.”
Scheer’s struggles were not limited to contradictions. He wouldn’t — or couldn’t — account for his previously stated views on same-sex marriage. He never found a way to explain why he wouldn’t march in a Pride parade. And during the first televised leaders’ debate, he was noticeably reluctant to acknowledge to that he was personally opposed to abortion.
Scheer’s campaign became a personal identity crisis. And then he failed to defeat a vulnerable opponent. (Continued: CBC)