On the Oct. 21, in a stale Saskatawan hotel room, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer walked onto a stage, telling a depressed audience that the “Conservatives have put Justin Trudeau on notice … when [the Liberal] government falls, Conservatives will be ready and we will win.”
Despite the applause that this comment provoked in that conference room, there has been a rumbling drone of discontent towards Scheer’s leadership, pervasive throughout background Conservative circles. On Monday, the establishment media finally became aware of this from Doug Ford’s Twitter, where an anti-Scheer message was retweeted to an audience of over 140,000 people. Ford inevitably denied that there was any intention behind this, and some unfortunate staffer subsequently found himself to be searching for another job.
Before Ford’s retweet, the anti-Scheer movement was previously confined to a caste of shunned or irrelevant Tory figures. Take, for instance, the first female Prime Minister Kim Cambell, who stated that Scheer was “hard to trust.” This comment would have been a damning indictment if it happened to come from any other Conservative ex-prime minister, but as it was from Campbell, who has recently taken a public turn to the left on social media— it is unlikely to leave a scratch.
This is a similar story to ex-PC leader Patrick Brown, who has been ostracized from his party in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. Brown, in an opinion piece for the Toronto Star, argued that the Conservative Party needed a modernizing figure who would fight for the values of environmentalism and multiculturalism; much like he did in Ontario one might think cynically. Like Campbell, Brown’s comments will hardly send shockwaves through a party that has used everything in its arsenal to dispel of him.
Aside from retired Conservative politicians, a “Scheer Must Go” campaign was created by the young advocate, Anthony Koch. Unfortunately, the only available method of measuring this campaign’s support would have to be through social media. On Twitter, the campaign is yet to surpass 500 followers, thus making it improbable that any of Scheer’s inner circle would be losing too much sleep over its conception.
Next year, Scheer will have to face a leadership review in Toronto on April 16-18. During the convention, members of the Conservative Party will vote on whether Scheer should stay on as leader. As a result, there may be some anxiety amongst Scheer’s inner circle, especially if Tory heavyweights like Peter MacKay choose to run.
Despite the Scheer Must Go campaign failing, so far, to gain any popular support, it still remains difficult to tell whether the frustration of Trudeau’s re-election will materialize into something more bloodthirsty.