Conservative Party leadership candidate Andrew Scheer (left) and Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl at a visit with party members at Greendale Elementary on Feb. 18 in advance of the debate in Langley.

Conservative Party leadership candidate Andrew Scheer (left) and Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl at a visit with party members at Greendale Elementary on Feb. 18 in advance of the debate in Langley.

Chilliwack-Hope MP supports Andrew Scheer as next party leader

Less of a household name than some other candidates, Scheer earns the support of the highest number of Conservative MPs

As Kevin O’Leary, Kellie Leitch and Maxime Bernier garner most of the press attention in the current federal Conservative Party leadership race, Chilliwack-Hope constituents might wonder who their own Member of Parliament (MP) backs.

Lesser known than the brash O’Leary or the controversial Leitch, 37-year-old Andrew Scheer may not be a household name, yet, but he is Mark Strahl’s choice.

“Andrew Scheer is the leadership candidate whose values most closely align with mine, which is why I support him,” Strahl told the Progress this week. “He’s a next generation leader who can help our party reconnect with Canadians of all ages and in all regions of the country.”

And while Scheer has been described as “soft-spoken,” getting less attention than some others, he is actually the first choice, so far, of his caucus.

While MPs do not pick the leader — that is done by party members — 25 MPs, including Strahl, are on side with Scheer by this week. That leads the way by a long shot among the 14 candidates vying for the leadership.

Next closest is Erin O’Toole with the support of 19 MPs. Bernier has six on his side. Leitch and Lisa Raitt three. Michael Chong has two. And the high-profile O’Leary has just one MP committed to him, along with Deepak Obhrai who also has one. The remaining candidates have none.

Even without being well-known among the public, but he is high profile within in the party, serving as Speaker of the House of Commons in the last Parliament.

Scheer was in Chilliwack last Saturday in advance of the leadership debate in Langley that evening. In the morning, he came at Strahl’s invitation to visit and talk with local Conservative Party members at Greendale Elementary.

Scheer describes himself as an “unapologetic” and a “real” conservative.

“Conservatives need to offer a different vision than Trudeau, we can’t just be Liberals who are good at math,” he says on his website. “I am a real Conservative who will offer a positive vision for our country. I am a real leader who can unite our movement and take on the Liberals.”

At just 37, Scheer is quite young but Strahl says he’s been involved in the Conservative movement for 20 years, and he gained the respect of all Parliamentarians in his role as Speaker.

A father of five children aged one to 11, the Saskatchewan MP is fluent in French. He is also a pro-lifer, although he has said in the past he won’t bring forward government legislation to ban abortion.

“He has the most Conservative MPs endorsing him of any candidate, from every province in which we hold seats,” Strahl says. “He’s the candidate I believe is best positioned to champion conservative values and take on Trudeau in 2019.”

Conservatives will vote on the next leader on May 27.

paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch