Singh says people with ‘Mr. Scheer’s beliefs’ cannot be prime minister of Canada
New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh made a bold statement directed at Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer on Wednesday, stating that the federal election was proof that you can’t be both a social conservative and serve as prime minister.
Singh told reporters that abortion is “between a person and their health care provider and no one else has any business being involved in that,” going on to criticize Scheer for his personal views on gay marriage rights, according to HuffPo Canada.
The parties that could potentially hold the balance of power in the Liberal’s minority government had very different takes on Thursday’s Throne speech when they responded in the House of Commons, Friday.
While the separatist Bloc Quebecois stood in defence of Quebec’s autonomy, the New Democrats assumed their traditional role as defenders of the poor and marginalized.
Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet took particular issue that the speech lumped Quebec in with provinces and territories as one of “the regions of Canada.”
“Let’s make something clear. Quebec is not a region of Canada. Quebec is the land that the Quebec nation shares with a number of First Nations,” Blanchet told the House of Commons, reminding MPs of his party’s raison d’etre.
“Although we may not be aiming specifically for this… Quebecers know that the Bloc is a party based on the concept of independence.”
Blanchet also said that in defending Quebec’s autonomy on matters of healthcare and environmental assessments, “The Bloc is not only representing the national assembly of Quebec but also the voices of the other provinces.”
The separatist party leader also said that Quebec voters turned to his party “because they can’t identify with any federal party.”
“They’re not all sovereigntists, but they’re nationalists,” he said.
Bloc support at the polls tripled their seat count (10-32) in the Commons while the number of NDP candidates were nearly cut in half, from 40 down to 24.
New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, whose enclave was relegated to fourth party status after October’s election in a Bloc-surge, accused Liberals for “profiting off student debt” while waiving government loans to corporations.
Singh was also skeptical about the Throne speech’s promise to lower the cost of telecommunications services by 25 percent.
“In Canada we pay…some of the highest cellphone and internet fees in the world. It’s not a coincidence because the government has allowed the telecoms to do this,” said Singh.
“Access to the internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity…(and) the cost of cell phone and internet services are impeding people in their everyday lives.”
Affordable and available housing, as well as making good on a national pharmacare plan that consecutive Liberal governments have paid lip service to, also formed Singh’s response to the Throne speech.
“Across Canada people are making difficult choices every day, about cutting their pills in half or going without the life-saving medication that they need,” he said.
“What is it going to take for the Prime Minister to keep his word and to deliver pharmacare that covers all Canadians?”
The New Democrat leader also suggested that Trudeau talked the talk on indigenous reconciliation, which also prominently featured in the Throne speech, but that the government’s actions fell short of walking the walk.
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” said Singh. “(They) ignore a human rights tribunal ruling, delay the funding to end the discrimination and continue to take indigenous to court.”
At the beginning of October, the federal government filed for judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights tribunal ruling ordering $40,000 in compensation to First Nations children taken from their communities under the on-reserve child welfare system.
Conservative MP Ed Fast has rejected Andrew Scheer’s invitation to join his shadow cabinet as the leader needed someone who “fully supports” his leadership, according to the Globe and Mail. Fast is a prominent member of the Conservative caucus, having served in Prime Minister Harper’s cabinet.
Ed Fast is a well-respected figure within the Conservative Party having served as the trade minister. Fast made his decision public only a few hours after Scheer’s cabinet announcement.
Speaking to the Globe and Mail, Fast said, “Mr. Scheer and I recently had a conversation about where I could fit into his shadow cabinet, and I expressed my desire not to be included at this time.”
Fast went on to say that “Mr. Scheer is entitled to surround himself with a team that fully supports his leadership.”
Fast’s comments were interpreted by many in the party as a rebuke of Scheer’s leadership and strategy during the election campaign.
Since Justin Trudeau’s re-election as PM, Scheer has faced increasing pressure over his decision to remain as leader. This pressure, originally coming from former Conservative politicians, has transitioned to disapproval from both the moderate and the social factions of the Conservative Party.
This week, a third-party organization was created by a group of prominent figures within the Conservative movement. This group, Conservative Victory, is devoted entirely to ousting Scheer.
Others in the party pushed back on the recent media reports, saying Scheer has overwhelming support from his caucus and pointing out he won the popular support.
A group of prominent Conservative operatives have established a non-profit organization that will campaign to oust Andrew Scheer, according to The Globe and Mail.
The group has been named Conservative Victory, and it has been established by Kory Teneycke, Doug Ford’s top election advisor, Jeff Ballingall, the founder of the Proud Network and the Chief Marketing Officer at The Post Millennial, and John Reynolds, who co-chaired the Stephen Harper’s 2006 election campaign.
The group’s ambition is to boot out Scheer before his leadership review which will be held in Toronto in the new year. They plan to do this by organizing a cross-country social media movement.
Speaking to The Globe and Mail, Scheer ally Chris Warkentin MP, stated that this group could be dismissed due to Teneycke’s and Reynolds’ connection to Maxime Bernier’s campaign.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer received a cold reception at a Conservative meeting in Montreal, Quebec on Monday. Some failed Conservative candidates called on the leader to resign—demanding that he step aside so that another candidate could replace him, according to the CBC.
Scheer has been dealing with a cacophony of discontent from Conservatives after his election loss to Justin Trudeau, with many believing that the CPC leader lost a winnable election. Throughout the campaign, Scheer fell over tripwires and was sucked into a needless debate on social conservatism that distracted voters from core party messaging.
Conservative party grandees have been vocal in their criticism of Scheer. Peter MacKay, for instance, declared that issues like abortion and immigration “hung round [Scheer’s] neck like a stinking albatross.” MacKay went on to say that, “it was like having an open net and missing the net.”
Former Conservative leaders, Rona Ambrose and Kim Campbell, have also attacked Scheer, although Ambrose’s criticism was less abrasive than Campbells. On Twitter, Ambrose voiced her support of pride parades, saying that she “was proud to have been the first Tory leader to march in a Pride Parade.” She went on to say that “It’s time to move forward together and show ALL families we have their backs!” This has been seen as a direct rebuke of Scheer’s leadership.
Despite being under attack from Red Tories, Scheer has also begun to feel the heat from social conservatives as well. In an article by the Globe and Mail, it was reported that some social conservatives groups have called on Scheer to resign.
Scheer will be facing a leadership review in April of next year where he will have to defend his leadership during the election. Last month, high-level CPC sources told The Post Millennial that both Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay were preparing leadership bids. MacKay vehemently denied the claim.
“I think he should resign and run again for his job. If he’s confident that the party membership backs him, that’s the way to test that,” said high-profile Conservative aide Kory Teneycke to CBC’s Power and Politics host Vassy Kapelos on Monday.
Teneyke was the former director of communications to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Doug Ford’s campaign manager during the 2018 Ontario election.
“Being asked if you want to be Andrew Scheer’s chief of staff right now is probably like asking someone if they want to be captain of the Titanic,” he said. “It’s a great honour if it’s before it hits the iceberg, but after the iceberg, it seems like less of an honour and more of a hardship post. I think the iceberg was the election.”
Over the past weekend Scheer fired two of his top aides.