Liberals ask for an investigation of Scheer's insurance industry credentials

The Liberals are calling for a review of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's credentials from his time in the insurance industry. 

Globe and Mail report raises questions about Conservative leader's resume

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer makes a campaign stop in Saskatoon, Sask., on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

The Liberals are calling for a review of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's credentials from his time in the insurance industry. 

A letter signed by Liberal candidate Marco Mendicino urges the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan and the Insurance Councils of Saskatchewan "to investigate immediately and take appropriate action." 

It comes after a report that The Globe and Mail found no evidence that Scheer had received the accreditation needed to be a broker before he was elected to the House of Commons in 2004.

The letter from the Liberals includes several examples of references made to Scheer's job as an "insurance broker" or a "broker" in Conservative party material and from interviews the leader has done. It is life experience — however brief — that Scheer has referred to dozens of times in the House of Commons, during his party leadership race and at various events. 

Conservative spokesperson Simon Jefferies rejects the allegations in the letter.

"Andrew Scheer was accredited under the Canadian Association of Insurance Brokers (CAIB) program. He was working towards obtaining his broker's licence, but left the industry before acquiring it," he said in an email to CBC News.

It's unclear what Scheer did while working in the insurance office, but his web page identifies him as a former "insurance broker" — something he clarified when asked about it Saturday. 

Scheer questioned about his resume

4 years ago
Duration 0:31
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is asked about his website which says he had previously been an insurance broker.

"I did receive my accreditation," Scheer told reporters.  "I left the insurance office before the licensing process was finalized."

It's that lack of initial clarity the Liberals point to in their letter, saying Scheer "appears to have publicly and repeatedly misrepresented himself to Canadians."

Leaders' work experience

The Conservatives have dismissed the allegations that Scheer was working without proper credentials, going so far as to send reporters examples of job postings for insurance companies that require little experience or credentials.

In Saskatchewan, the rules state you must complete an exam before becoming a broker.

The province's insurance act states that "no person shall hold himself out as an agent or as a salesman of an agent unless he is the holder of a subsisting licence under this act," and that "Every person who contravenes any provision of this act is guilty of an offence." 

A Conservative official, speaking on background, said a young broker like Scheer would have been supervised by a licensed broker. He may have had his duties restricted and would have acted more as a sales representative until his full licence was approved, they said.

The Conservatives have taken aim over the years at Justin Trudeau's work experience as a snowboard instructor, bouncer and teacher before he entered politics in his 30s. Scheer was first elected as an MP when he was 24 years old and has often referred to his work in the "private sector" or insurance industry before he was elected. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was a practising lawyer before entering Ontario provincial politics.

This campaign, the Conservatives have referred repeatedly to Trudeau being "Not as advertised," a line the Liberals now seem to be taking delight in turning back on Scheer in reference to his past occupation.

At an event in Mississauga, Ont., to launch the full Liberal platform, Trudeau was asked whether Scheer was misleading Canadians on his credentials "I will let Andrew Scheer answer those questions," he said.

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