Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. (Submitted)

LETTER: Andrew Scheer may be most underrated political leader in Western world

Former MP John Weston writes about an evening he hosted with the federal Conservative leader

“What can you hope for in someone aspiring to lead our country?”

That’s the question in my mind as I prepared to host Andrew Scheer at my home in West Vancouver Friday night, along with about 75 others eager to meet him. He’s at the most malleable time in his leadership career, recently elected, and seemingly open to guidance from people like those he met in the room.

The answer to my question became more and more apparent as Andrew spoke. As friends dispersed later, several came independently to the same conclusion. We wanted to observe humility, compassion, integrity, and someone committed to listen to the people he aims to serve.

The humility side he’s learned from being consistently underrated in politics, surrounding himself with strong supporters, and beating the odds. Andrew may be the most underrated political leader in the Western world. At the tender age of 25, he beat the odds in 2004, winning his first election as MP against a 30-year parliamentary veteran, Lorne Nystrom. At 32, he defied the experts once again in 2011, becoming Canada’s youngest ever Speaker of the House. And he beat the odds a third time to emerge victorious over 15 other candidates who sought the Conservative Party leadership in 2016.

The compassion angle is especially important for a Conservative leader. Andrew acknowledged the importance of rehabilitation, not just the expectable commitment to incarcerate repeat offenders. Imagine how Canadians would respond to a leader who pledged intelligent, effective support to the prisoners of drug addiction.

The integrity piece is key, as we want leaders who will do the right thing even when no one is watching. You don’t have to share his faith as a devoted Catholic Christian to believe he has a personal stake in doing the right thing. That same integrity allows for him to remain loyal to whatever commitments he makes as he prepares to potentially lead the country. At the same time, integrity will require him to change position while making the necessary adjustments when the good of the whole country requires a special interest group to yield.

Finally, Andrew seemed intent on listening to people he met. With his energy, mental nimbleness, and the ability to identify people who can enrich his understanding of key issues, he has the makings to grow into a great Canadian leader.

John Weston

John Weston is a lawyer specializing in government relations and indigenous affairs, author of the book On!, and former Conservative Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.

* The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the North Island Gazette. If you have a different opinion, we request you write to us to contribute to the conversation.

Just Posted

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

UPDATED: Evacuation alerts due to Chutanli Lake Fire expanded; Shag Creek area put on alert

40 properties on alert due to Chutanli Lake Fire; 17 due to Shag Creek

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

VIDEO: B.C. city to host Western Regional Quidditch Championship in 2019

The fictional game in the Harry Potter series has become popular around the world, with 600 athletes in Canada alone

Most Read