PEI

Island Conservatives get their pick with Scheer

Conservatives on P.E.I. are pleased with the selection of Andrew Scheer as the party’s new federal leader. Overall, Scheer received 70.8 per cent of the available support from the Island's four ridings — second only to his home province of Saskatchewan.

Scheer's home province of Saskatchewan only place he received more support than P.E.I.

Andrew Scheer celebrates after winning the leadership during the Conservative Party of Canada leadership convention in Toronto, Ont., on May 27, 2017. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Conservatives on P.E.I. are pleased with the selection of Andrew Scheer as the party's new federal leader.

Scheer proved to be the Island favourite from the get-go, leading the province in voting through all 13 rounds of counting required for the party to select a leader Saturday night.

"I think he could relate to people," said Martha Ellis, president of the Charlottetown Conservative Electoral District Association. Ellis said she ranked Scheer number one on her ballot.

"He's young, he's very mild-mannered, he's a family person, he came from rural Canada…. I think people felt that he could relate to Islanders and the issues that we have down here."

Support 2nd only to Saskatchewan

In total, Scheer received 70.8 per cent of the support up for grabs from the Island's four federal ridings. The only province where Scheer ended up with a higher total is his home province of Saskatchewan.

According to PC MLA Steven Myers, one of the issues that won support for Scheer on the Island was his support of supply management. Maxime Bernier, considered by many to be the front-runner heading into the vote, had vowed to get rid of the system.

Island PC MLA Steven Myers says Andrew Scheer's support of supply management helped him win the support of P.E.I. Conservatives in his bid to become party leader. (CBC)

"That's one of the reasons I didn't vote Bernier at all is because supply management is very important here on Prince Edward Island," said Myers. "We still have an economy that's largely based on agriculture. Supply management is important for Island farmers to have it protected so that we have a good strong industry here on the Island."

The interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on P.E.I. Jamie Fox said Scheer's time as Speaker of the House of Commons in Ottawa also helped him secure the support of Conservative party members.

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"It showed that he had the ability to work fairly with all parties in the House, that he had the confidence of the House and members from all sides," said Fox. "That was a big thing."

Sylvia Poirier represents P.E.I. on the National Council of the Conservative Party of Canada. She was in Toronto for the leadership convention.

Martha Ellis from the Charlottetown Conservative Electoral District Association said Andrew Scheer is able to relate to Islanders and their issues. (CBC)

She gave a favourable review of the ranked ballot system the party used to select Scheer, saying it made for a "less divisive" convention and the selection of a candidate she believes can appeal to a wide range of Canadians, including those in the Atlantic region.

"Scheer's platform was more moderate and I think had a broader appeal," Poirier said. "And I think people put him on their ballot for that reason."

She said the year-long campaign energized party supporters and resulted in a fundraising boost, but said "I think people in general are happy that it's done. It certainly was quite a huge process."

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