Why does the mainstream media want Andrew Scheer to be a racist?
As election 2019 approaches, one thing has become obvious: it did not matter who the Conservative Party of Canada would have elected to lead their party. The mainstream media would have still implemented the same smear tactics against them
The smears include calling them bigots, racist, xenophobic, making lazy connections to extremists, and claiming that they are “alt-right adjacent.” This type of name-calling is the new norm from the Canadian left, and it sadly seems to only be getting worse
Georganne Burke is a Senior VP with the Pathway Group, a government relations consulting firm. She is a long-time Conservative activist focused on volunteer recruitment and outreach. She spends most of her time in Ottawa.
Full disclosure: I supported Andrew Scheer for leader in 2017. I had been the campaign manager for Maxime Bernier until I walked away in September 2016. Andrew had always been my #2 choice, so he quickly moved up to #1.
I liked the way they approached the campaign. They understood it was about members and GOTV. Andrew had to spend time in church basements, at coffee parties, at small events all across Canada. He worked hard, sacrificing time with his young family and reaching out to all who would hear him.
That is how he won: One member at time and by attracting nearly 2,000 volunteers.
I also had observed him interacting with his team and was impressed by his respectful and collegial way of participating with us, and making decisions based on the input he got from everyone.
I saw his intellect and sense of humor, his kindness and real warmth towards all people.
And that leads me to wonder how Canadians could miss the things that I saw, and so easily accept the narrative pushed successfully by the Liberals and their friends in the mainstream media: “He is untrustworthy, he’s a hater, he will cut jobs, he’s a racist and a white supremacist, he’s ‘Doug Ford’ etc., etc.”
I came to the conclusion that like most first-time national candidates that are not Justin Trudeau, Andrew made mistakes. Mistakes that can be fixed, but mistakes that reflected a lack of experience. Justin Trudeau also made mistakes but he had special dispensation from the media and to some extent from the Canadian people. I keep trying to picture the outrage and bloviating that would have occurred in the media had Andrew Scheer worn blackface once, let alone multiple times (so many times he could not remember how many).
So why should we let him stay?
Perhaps people have forgotten 2004 when our then leader Stephen Harper ran for the first time in a national campaign. His infamous accusation against Paul Martin of supporting child pornography, candidate Randy White’s social conservative outbursts on same sex marriage and abortion, Cheryl Gallant’s comments on abortion. Harper did not do enough to distance his party from these comments and also may have reinforced them himself. Sound familiar?
A few days later, after the social issues blow-up, Harper said that his government would revise the legislation that mandated French on Air Canada flights causing more uproar that needed to be tamped down.
After that election, in which we reduced the Liberals to a minority, won more seats, and came in second, people were calling for Stephen Harper’s head (does this sound familiar?). I remember attending the Toronto post mortem the day before my son got married in 2004. It was a rant-a-palooza, the likes of which I had never seen. Imagine if the media attacks on Stephen Harper by our own members had happened like those we are seeing now against Andrew Scheer, if, God forbid, we had driven Stephen Harper out of the leadership. We would not have had ten years of Conservative governments, the first two of which were minorities.
Stephen Harper learned from his mistakes. I believe Andrew Scheer can as well.
What are the “tells” that we need to look for to assure ourselves that Andrew Scheer is making the changes that are needed?
First, can Andrew Scheer face his critics and listen to them?
Second, can he take constructive criticism and turn it into meaningful action?
Third, can he open up to a wider circle for advice in order to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated?
This is what I have seen to this point. Andrew has begun a national tour in which he is meeting with candidates, campaign managers and volunteers to listen to them, respond to their concerns and to thank them for their hard work. No leader in our party or a previous iteration of the party in my memory has personally undertaken this. He has faced anger and vitriol in some meetings, but in every meeting has heard criticism and taken it to heart.
Second, I know that he received several reports from campaign workers and supporters, along with the report and review he personally requested from Hon. John Baird. The first actions he took to remove his chief of staff and comms. director were almost unanimously sought by the authors of those reports. Even though they were his friends and trusted confidants, Andrew recognized that he would lose the trust and confidence of many if he did not take action. There are other changes that must happen, but as I have said many times over the past few weeks, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
And third, but not in importance, I believe that Andrew has opened up to a wider circle. He recognized that perhaps he was not served as well as he should have been and that confirmation bias could have been an issue in the decision-making process. It is a good practice by any leader to seek as wide a variety of thoughts on any issue, allowing him or her to weigh the pros and cons and make a fully informed decision. His approach to the review of the campaign and seeking input widely is a good sign. What remains is to ensure that he takes decisive action on the advice he is given.
What I am saying here is that while no one, least of all Andrew, is happy with the outcome, there is an upside. We increased our seats in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. We managed to win the popular vote. We gained 22 seats nationally. We have a young, intelligent and decent leader, who deeply cares about our country.
We need to give him the same chance we once gave to a young Stephen Harper, who made mistakes in 2004 but found a new path to defeat the Liberals just two years later. It is my hope that our party stays united behind the Leader, and does not give our opponents what they want: a chaotic, infighting Conservative Party that will be vulnerable to a snap election loss.
A new online poll conducted by the Canadian Press has shown that Andrew Scheer has less than 50 percent support from Canadians who self-identify as Conservatives, according to CKOM.
Just 48 percent of Conservative supporters say they want Andrew Scheer to continue as leader. 40 percent want him to resign, while 12 percent remain undecided.
This comes as another bad news story for the Conservative leader who will require a far greater majority in his leadership review in April of next year. The precedent in Candian politics is that leaders who undergo reviews should receive a much higher portion of the vote than just 50 percent.
Stephan Harper, for example, won over 85% of the vote in his leadership review after his 2004 election loss. It has been broadly considered that 75 percent of the vote is the bare minimum for an incumbent leader to continue his tenure.
The survey was conducted from Nov. 15-25 and over 3,000 Canadians participated.
Recently, Andrew Scheer has received significant pressure from the Conservative base to resign. This criticism previously derived from the Red Tory faction of the party when Peter MacKay and Rona Ambrose criticized his leadership.
Peter MacKay, for instance, declared that issues like abortion and LGBTQ issues “hung round [Scheer’s] neck like a stinking albatross.” MacKay went on to say that this election was like “having an open net and missing the net.”
Another prominent Conservative politician, Ed Fast, who served in Harper’s cabinet as the trade secretary, declined a position in Scheer’s cabinet, saying that the leader needed someone who “fully supports” his leadership.
Soon after, the Globe and Mail reported that the social conservative wing of the party had begun to abandon Scheer. One former Conservative MP, Brad Trost, said in the article that “A lot of social conservatives have no interest whatsoever in backing Andrew Scheer.”
Last week, Scheer suffered another setback after a third-party organization was created by a group of prominent figures within the Conservative movement. This group, Conservative Victory, is devoted entirely to the ousting of Scheer.
Former Liberal MP and Scheer's new deputy leader apologizes for dismissive LGBTQ comment, Scheer snubs openly gay CPC MP
Conservative MP (Ontario, Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill) and recently appointed CPC deputy leader Leona Alleslev caused outrage Saturday when she flippantly asked on CBC’s The House why no one was asking leaders about attending Saint Patrick’s Day parades, equating it to politicians not attending LGBTQ Pride parades.
“Have we asked anybody if they’ve marched in a Saint Patrick’s Day parade?” said Alleslev Saturday morning on the CBC politics program.
Shortly after the program aired, Alleslev apologized for equating Saint Patrick’s Day parades with Pride parades, which were started to push back against gay persecution and inequality.
Many critics on both sides of the political aisle argue Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s CPC lost crucial ridings in Ontario and other progressive metropolitan areas of the country because of his ambivalence on LGBTQ issues and his personal religious beliefs, which led to him being dogged by reporters throughout the election campaign with questions he evaded.
A large contingent of the CPC is also actively trying to get Scheer to step down as leader after the party failed to oust Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in October. They were quick to pounce on the latest blunder by his new deputy leader, who was still a Liberal MP until crossing the floor about a year ago.
Journalists were also questioning the judgement of the leadership of the party when they’re still having difficulty communicating unequivocal support for the LGBTQ community.
Scheer critics also questioned why he didn’t include CPC MP (Ontario, Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry) Eric Duncan in his shadow cabinet, the first openly gay Conservative MP. Duncan was the former mayor of the township of North Dundas, with over eight years prior experience in politics. He also vocally defended Scheer during the 2019 election when the CPC leader was being attacked on LGBTQ issues. Since the election, Duncan has said the party needs to rethink its approach towards LGBTQ issues.
Meanwhile, party stalwarts launched a non-profit organization last week to raise money to depose Scheer from power.
Conservative Victory was created by Kory Teneycke, Doug Ford’s top election advisor and former director of communications for prime minister Stephen Harper, 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.
Scheer loyalists in the party maintain that the CPC leader still holds the vast majority of support from his caucus and the uprising is just a small dissident group.
Scheer’s office did not respond to The Post Millennial‘s request for comment.
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.