First impressions of Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

July 17, 2017

Andrew Scheer has squeaked into the post of Federal Conservative Leader with promises of a new world of conservatism-with-a-smile, but I have been put off repeatedly by his fondness for bumper-sticker logic and the use of reductivism in place of truth.

A single example of this deception by oversimplification is Sheer’s fondness for the phrase “confessed terrorist” in reference to Omar Khadr.  Khadr, a Canadian citizen captured at 15 in Afghanistan, signed a confession in an illegitimate military tribunal — not a legal courtroom — as the main condition for release from ten years of torture in an American internment camp in Cuba with no other prospect for release.  CSIS personnel went to the camp to interrogate the former child soldier, then turned over their intelligence to the Americans.

It bothers me that Stephen Harper and this grinning acolyte radiate false rage over the $10.5M payment to Omar Khadr because it riles up the Conservative base.  Slogans like:  Canadians need to let Mrs. Speer know how we feel about Khadr! appropriate an American family’s private sorrow and vulgarize it into a crude plywood sign on a roof in Calgary.  Time will tell if this extended anti-Trudeau tirade will generate income from Conservative donors for Scheer as well as the Long Gun Registry worked for Harper.

Scheer’s history of success in assorted votes indicates considerable political acumen.  He is likely smarter than he looks and sounds, but it grates that this “conservative” seeks to draw the level of political discourse in Canada so low.  I had had hopes that the new Conservative leader would keep politics north of the Canadian border, help put back in place a reverence for political discourse, and always take the high road without bastardizing his party’s position by conflating facts and ignoring nuance.  Instead, we see a man only too willing to ape the tactics creating electoral-success-at-all-cost in the United States today.

Michael Chong would have made a much better Conservative leader, but he may have to wait through another election cycle or two to get his chance.


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