After the Conservative’s election defeat this October, Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer has faced scrutiny over his continued position. After an election campaign that was riddled with Justin Trudeau’s scandals, many Conservatives have wondered how exactly the party managed to lose the election.
Some Conservative Party grandees like Peter MacKay and Kim Campbell have attacked Scheer’s leadership, suggesting that his less-than-clear position on social issues needlessly damaged the party’s efforts. In their view, this was an election that the Conservatives should have won, especially when Trudeau was weakened by things like the SNC-Lavalin scandal and blackface.
This past weekend Scheer fired two of his top aides in the wake of the election loss, but critics within the CPC are saying the buck stops with Scheer himself for not winning the election.
Scheer will have to face a leadership review in Toronto next year, and if he loses the confidence of the party members, a new leadership race will be triggered. Here are some potential top candidates who could throw their hat into the ring to replace him and potentially become Canada’s next PM.
James Moore is a British Columbian who worked as a radio broadcaster before entering politics. Unlike Scheer, Moore has voted in favour of same-sex marriage and other social issues.
After the newly formed Conservative Party won the 2006 election under Stephan Harper, Moore was promoted to serve as the Minister of Canadian Heritage where he reduced the CBC’s spending. He also later served as the Minister of Industry. After the 2015 election loss to Justin Trudeau, Moore became the chancellor of the University of British Columbia.
Like James Moore, Christy Clark is from British Columbia, going on to become the premier of the province. Clark has only ever worked in British Columbian politics, beginning her career as a student campaign advisor.
Clark has a long history of provincial politics, making a name for herself as part of the previous B.C. Liberal team (who, confusingly, are the most conservative party in the province) where she was appointed the Minister of Education, as well as Deputy Premier.
After this, Clark served as British Columbia’s premier for six years, before losing a nail-biting election to John Horgan’s NDP and Andrew Weaver’s Green Party, those two parties forming a coalition government. Clark is officially on “retirement”, although a chance at becoming prime minister may be tempting enough to pull her away from the cottage.
Ex-Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is a bit of a folk icon in the prairies. Wall has only ever worked in politics, beginning his career as a ministerial assistant. Following this, Wall worked in and around Saskatchewan’s Conservative movement, serving in numerous cabinet roles, before finally becoming the leader of the Saskatchewan Party in 2004.
Wall oversaw a complete reform of the Saskatchewan Party’s policies, implementing a moderate manifesto that would appeal to urban voters. Wall’s hard work paid off when the Saskatchewan Party won the 2007 election and then a colossal landslide in the 2011 election, leaving the traditionally stronger NDP with a measly 9 seats. Under Wall’s leadership, the province of Saskatchewan has flourished economically.
Wall retired from politics in 2017, leaving his party healthy enough to win another landslide last provincial election. Since his retirement, Wall has remained active in politics, frequently appearing on news talk shows, and is known for being deeply critical of Justin Trudeau’s government and carbon tax.
Erin O’Toole finished third in the CPC leadership race in 2017. O’Toole’s interest in running again is reportedly high: a high-level source within the Conservative Party has said that “O’Toole is waiting for the dust to settle” to launch his leadership bid.
Before his career in politics, O’Toole was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force. After this, he completed a law degree at Dalhousie University, becoming a lawyer in Toronto.
O’Toole has been a member of parliament since 2012, representing the riding of Durham in Ontario. Since his election to parliament, O’Toole has served as the minister of veterans affairs (being a veteran himself, previously serving in Canada’s military as a pilot) and currently works as the opposition critic for foreign affairs.
When Patrick Brown recruited Caroline Mulroney to the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, she was immediately considered a future leadership candidate, not only in Ontario, but also for the federal Conservatives.
Mulroney is the eldest child of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who was one of the few successful Conservative leaders in the 20th century. Caroline was educated in America and is fluent in four languages.
Before she was recruited by Brown, Mulroney worked as a lawyer, graduating from New York University’s law school. She worked as a lawyer in New York, although she has served on the board of numerous Canadian institutions, like the SickKids Foundation and the National Theatre School of Canada.
After the Partick Brown scandal, Mulroney stood as a candidate in Ontario’s leadership campaign. Despite being Conservative royalty, her campaign never took off, eventually finishing third behind Christine Elliot and Doug Ford.
Mulroney served as the Attorney General of Ontario, and is currently the Minister of Francophone Affairs and Minister of Transportation.
Peter Mackay made waves since Scheer’s election loss after he aggressively criticized the leader for his social conservatism and lack of leadership. Many commentators saw these comments as MacKay angling for leadership.
After graduating from Dalhousie University with a law degree, Mackay was called to the Nova Scotia bar where he was a crown prosecutor.
MacKay is probably the most experienced name on this list, having served as the leader of the Progressive Conservatives, giving way to Stephen Harper during the party’s merger with the Canadian Alliance. After Harper’s electoral victory, MacKay served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, National Defence and as the Attorney General.