The Current

Who is Canada's new leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer?

Newly-elected Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer has spent most of his adult life in politics, yet many Canadians don't know much about him.
Andrew Scheer (R) is congratulated by Maxime Bernier (L) after being elected the new leader of the federal Conservative Party, May 27. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

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Newly-elected leader of the Conservative Party Andrew Scheer made his first appearance in the House of Commons on May 29, taking jabs at the current government's economic record while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Rome meeting with the Pope.

But who is Andrew Scheer? And what does his victory mean for the Canadian political landscape?

The 38-year-old father of five — often called during the campaign "Stephen Harper with a smile" — is the youngest House Speaker in Canadian history. He has spent most of his adult life in politics, being first elected to federal office as MP for Regina-Qu'Appelle in 2004.

Aaron Wherry, senior writer with CBC.ca, says compared to his rival Maxime Bernier's "very aggressive platform," Scheer's platform was "fairly scant."

"He talked about free speech on university campuses and putting the flags of foreign countries on gas pumps to remind Canadians that their oil isn't all domestic. It wasn't a policy-heavy platform," Wherry tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti. 
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is a career politician who was referred to as 'Stephen Harper with a smile' or 'Harper 2.0' throughout the CP leadership race. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

As for the future of the Conservative Party, Wherry suggests that it's possible that the electorate would like to re-adopt the policies of the previous Conservative government in time for the 2019 election.

"But it's not clear that that's going to be nearly enough to win back office," he says.

"And so it remains to be seen where this party wants to go."

Political columnist Murray Mandryk says Scheer's ability to speak to a Conservative crowd speaks to his "political ambition of him wanting to say the right things to the right people."

However, Mandryk is unsure how successful Scheer will be in catering to the wider Canadian audience.

"Typical of a younger leader, he has to be seen as someone to be taken seriously," Mandryk explains.

"There's a lot of elements of his game he has to work on. Mostly he has to be his own man policy-wise and ... come forward and show that leadership."

Listen to this segment at the top of the web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Kristin Nelson.

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