Column like I see 'em - Andrew Scheer has us at a Conservatives crossroads


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Thank you Santa! Thank you for this most unexpected Christmas gift; the gift of federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer stepping down. The announcement on Thursday, Dec. 12 of Scheer’s resignation came as a complete shock to me. But while I was surprised by the decision, I can’t say that it bothered me all that much, because, quite honestly Andrew Scheer never connected with me as a voter. I was not alone in that disconnect, as it was Scheer’s inability to resonate with some voters that ultimately led to his undoing. Well,… that and the alleged secret slush fund for his kids’ tuition,… but mostly the disconnect. 

There was no doubt in my mind that Scheer needed to go, and I’m saying that as someone who usually votes Conservative. Now, I have received a little bit of good natured flack for that particular opinion since the election. I have been quite verbal around the office that Scheer needed to step aside, despite the fact the election night results were actually a tremendous step forward for him and the party. But while the Conservatives did win the popular vote, two-thirds of Canadians still voted to the left of the political spectrum via the Liberals, New Democrats or Green Party. That type of result, in my estimation is not going to change in the future and that is the reality that the Conservatives must face. They simply cannot have a leader who is perceived as pulling them further over to the right and have a realistic chance of forming government. And fair or not, Andrew Scheer, though his actions, and in some cases inaction on social issues, allowed that far right perception to be placed upon him. This is an opportunity to change the narrative and move the party just a little bit closer to the centre so it can address the concerns of most Canadians. 

Small-c conservative 

Now I’ve identified as a small-c conservative most of my adult life. I believe in restrained government spending, focused on the necessities of our nation. If money is to be spent, let’s distribute it to more transfer support for infrastructure, health and social programs, as opposed to federally funded sketch comedy shows or interpretive jazz appreciation radio programs on the CBC. 

I believe that yes, we do need to be a global partner and help those in other nations that can’t help themselves. But before we feed all the hungry in Yemen, let’s make sure everyone in Yellowknife has a full belly. 

I believe five years should be five years when a judge hands it down. Not two years, because a criminal made their bed everyday and didn’t shank their cellmate. 

It feels as though the Federal Conservative Party used to have that same mindset as I do. It focused on the principals of smaller government, lower taxes and law and order. The problem now, however, is that it feels as though, as a conservative, I also have to think that two people of a similar sex getting married or adopting a child together is destroying our society. I have to keep track of how many times you go to church and whether or not it’s the right church. I’m not saying all of this is officially etched in s t o n e within the p a r t y ’ s sacred tablets, but under Scheer, fairly or unfairly, it sometimes felt like it. 

As I grow older, I’m really starting to miss the progressive part of what use to be the Progressive Conservatives. Maybe, just maybe, the next leader can do something about that. Because continuing down the same path and expecting to arrive in a different destination is, in my opinion, Scheer madness. 

Disclaimer: Column like I see ‘em is a monthy opinion column for the Neepawa Banner & Press. The views expressed in the article are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Neepawa Banner & Press.