OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Andrew Scheer is stepping down as the Conservative leader.
He told his caucus Thursday morning he will step down when a new leader is chosen.
The resignation comes as a surprise, as Scheer has repeatedly said he would stay on — despite the disappointing loss in the last federal election.
He addressed the House of Commons saying this was one of the most difficult decisions he has made.
“Serving as the leader of the party that I love so much has been the opportunity and challenge of a lifetime. This was not a decision I came to lightly,” he says. “This has been an incredible challenge for our family to keep up with the pace that is required to lead a caucus and a party into a general election.”
He added the party needed someone who could give “100 per cent to the efforts” since he now plans to focus on his family instead.
.@AndrewScheer urges party to stay united. Says he will stay as leader until new leader is chosen and will continue serving his riding of Regina Qu’appelle, which he was represented since 2004. @NEWS1130
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) December 12, 2019
Scheer says he will continue to serve in his riding of Regina—Qu’Appelle, where he has served since 2004.
He also urged the Conservative Party to “stay united.”
“I believe in this party. I believe in our movement. I believe that we will be the government after the next election,” he says.
A media report had suggested Scheer’s resignation was the result of revelations he was using party money to pay for his kids’ schooling. However, the party’s president has confirmed the funds in question are part of standard protocol to reimburse the difference of schooling, and did not factor into Scheer’s decision.
“Shortly after Mr. Scheer was elected leader, we had a meeting where I made a standard offer to cover costs associated with moving his family from Regina to Ottawa. This includes differential in school costs between Regina and Ottawa. All proper procedures were followed and signed off by the appropriate people,” Scott Lamb says.
Scheer was elected as the party leader in May 2017, barely besting Maxime Bernier in the contest.
The Conservatives held the Liberals to a minority government in October but many in the party had hoped for a better result.
With files from the Canadian Press