For an election cycle often centred around party leaders’ personalities, the Conservatives’ haven’t managed to give Andrew Scheer much of one.
This has prompted multiple outlets to ask who the man is and what makes him tick. Scheer likely welcomes efforts to get his message out there, but got more than he bargained for this Saturday when the Globe and Mail published a profile that fact-checked his short non-political resume, specifically his time as “insurance broker.”
That’s what his official party bio says he did before going into politics. Except the Globe said that Scheer never got a license to be an insurance broker. While it’s not on the same level as the Trudeau blackface scandal, it is a telling misrepresentation from a leader who’s been caught bending the truth more than once this campaign.
Politicians often exaggerate, generalize, or take things out of context to brag about their record or to bash an opponent. But Scheer’s campaign has dialed up the volume and either made or amplified claims around wedge issues like refugees and drugs that either lack evidence or are demonstrably false.
Here are some of Scheer’s greatest hits this campaign season:
Jon Venables coming to Canada
Scheer retweeted a story by the UK’s Daily Mail tabloid on September 1 that reported British child killer Jon Venables was set to enter Canada “within days” because authorities were tired of spending money to create new identities for him.
The story is based on unnamed “inside” sources.
“Our country should not be a dumping ground for murderers, terrorists, and perverts,” wrote Scheer in his tweet, clearly a jab to imply Trudeau’s crime and border policies are soft.
Multiple fact checks then revealed that Canada’s immigration regulations make it highly unlikely that someone like Venables, who was just 10 when he and a friend killed a two-year-old child, would ever be let in.
The National Post reported all the way back in June that the Liberals effectively “closed the door” on the rumour that Venables was coming to Canada. The CBC was also told by a government official that no application made on behalf of Venables exists in the immigration system.
Illegal border crossers 'jump the queue'
During the first leadership debate organized by Macleans and CityTV, Scheer responded to a jab at Green Party leader Elizabeth May who said that he treated all refugees seeking asylum in Canada as “illegals.”
He said that, “some people are skipping the line and jumping the queue” by crossing into Canada through a porous border, making real refugees “wait longer” in camps under dangerous conditions in war-torn countries. A subsequent fact check by Global confirmed that such a “queue” does not in fact exist.
Refugees resettled in Canada from camps such as those run by the UN in conflict zones go through a completely different systems. The Canadian government is obligated to process claims by asylum seekers who either declare themselves at the border or within Canada.
That processing is done via a completely different system versus the one that relocates refugees from abroad who’re living in UN run camps.
The threat of illegal border crossers has been a consistent theme for the Conservatives who criticize Trudeau for damaging “the integrity of the immigration system,” a claim he reiterated this February while answering questions at the Surrey Board of Trade in BC.
The Liberals are going to decriminalize all drugs
Just over a week ago, Scheer was asked by the press to comment on the Green Party’s platform promise to decriminalize all drugs as one way to address the opioid crisis.
Scheer said, “I don’t think that’s the way to go down” and reiterated his party’s position of focusing on getting people off of drugs. He has also called the Liberals’ plan to increase supervised injection sites across the country a “terrible” idea.
But then he added: “I know that decriminalization is something that the Liberals are pursuing and contemplating. I can assure you that our party is not.”
Two days later, Trudeau responded in an interview with Global that his party has no plans to decriminalize any illicit drugs. A Liberal spokesperson also told the Huffington Post that her party has no plans to decriminalize.
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