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

Bella Coola grateful for help from Canadian Animal Assistance Team

Over two hundred animals received assistance from the team

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Carey Price brings young fan to tears after surprising him at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Most Read