Scheer’s days as Leader of the Opposition are numbered: Ibbitson

(Jessika Guse/RealAgriculture)

According to a Canadian veteran journalist, the days are numbered for the Leader of the Official Opposition.

Long time journalist for the Globe and Mail John Ibbitson recently wrote that Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer “does not appear to be up to the challenge.” Scheer’s critics, including Ibbitson, argue a change in leadership is necessary following the loss in the fall election, and because Scheer does not have the confidence of his voters.

“Obviously, there was a big division between Ontario and the west,” Ibbitson says. “(There is) huge support for the Conservatives in the Prairie provinces, there isn’t a Liberal between Winnipeg and Vancouver, but the conservatives were limited to the sort of rural base in Ontario, and you do not win elections in Canada unless you win the big swaths of suburban ridings, especially the 905 as it’s called, (which is) located outside of Toronto.”

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The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson joins RealAgriculture’s Jessika Guse for a conversation at Grain World, held in Saskatoon, Sask. The duo address Scheer’s leadership, China, and happenings on the hill.

With one exception, he says, every election since Pierre Trudeau was in office saw the 905 vote as a block, and vote the governing party. Even with recent scandals like SNC-Lavalin, black face photos, and the attorney general firing, Scheer wasn’t able to get any sort of breakthrough with that area — which as time has shown, is what’s needed.

When it comes to what makes a good Conservative Party leader, Ibbitson says there are three things that are top of mind.

“They need to be able to convince voters, especially voters in central Canada, that the Conservative party has a credible plan to tackle climate change, you should be a low tax party … one that is fiscally sensible, (and) you should be a party that respects the provinces,” he says. “Those are all things that we expect of the Conservatives.”

Being bilingual is also critical for a party leader and Ibbitson says Scheer lost support in Quebec due to his French-speaking shortcomings during the French language debates.