Canada’s Conservative Party Picks Andrew Scheer as New Leader

The quiet, no-frills social conservative from the prairies will be an odd fit going up against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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May 28 2017, 7:43pm

In a huge upset, Andrew Scheer is the newest leader of the Conservative Party.

The Saskatchewan member of Parliament, and former speaker of the House of Commons, managed to overcome frontrunner Maxime Bernier, despite a quiet, and underfunded, campaign.

Scheer, a quiet, no-frills politician from the prairies, will be an odd fit going up against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Scheer ran on a campaign that largely echoed many of the policies and priorities of his predecessor, Stephen Harper, in a clear sign that the party membership weren't quite ready to take a huge jump into the unknown. Scheer gets high marks from the Campaign Life Coalition, a pro-life lobby group, but, like his predecessor, he has also pledged to not re-open debates around abortion and gay marriage.

Yet his promise to leave behind divisive social issues could be made harder by the strong showing of the party's socially conservative base.

The nail-biting result of the race, which boasted a crowded field of 13 candidates — including TV personality Kevin O'Leary, who quit and yet came in 11th place — went down to the very last ballot, leaving centrist Erin O'Toole as the kingmaker.

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