Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer donned cowboy boots and hat at the Calgary Stampede on July 6th, with the aim of strengthening voter support in a traditional CPC stronghold ahead of this fall’s election.
Mr. Scheer spent his day shaking hands and flipping pancakes in the only two Calgary ridings the Conservatives lost in the 2015 election. These were the first seats the Liberals won in the city in 47 years.
In an open letter to Justin Trudeau on Monday July 8th, Scheer accused the Liberal government of imposing a “secret fuel tax” through its proposed clean fuel standard and is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to abandon this measure, which he says will increase the cost of gas. Scheer predicted the proposed fuel standards for 2022 — regulations expected to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change by setting rules for cleaner gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other substances — would “undoubtedly” make gas more expensive for Canadians.
There is no coincidence in politics. Andrew Scheer’s letter came out the same day that Premiers discussed the Federal carbon tax at the Council of the Federation (COF) in Saskatchewan. The host, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, was pleased to see Prince Edward Island and Quebec join Saskatchewan’s legal challenge of the Federal carbon tax. Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and British Columbia have also filed notices of intervention in Saskatchewan’s appeal. With Quebec and P.E.I. among seven provinces now registered as interveners in the Saskatchewan challenge to the Supreme Court of Canada. A challenge that had previously failed at the province’s Court of Appeal. Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and British Columbia have also filed notices of intervention in Saskatchewan’s appeal.
Andrew Scheer also urged Provincial and Territorial Premiers to "very seriously" consider his proposal to build a Canada-wide energy corridor.
It must be said that the Conservative leader has excellent relations with the premiers, especially since Canada literally turned "blue" with the election of Doug Ford in Ontario, Blaine Higgs in New Brunswick and Jason Kenney in Alberta. We can also add Scott Moe in Saskatchewan and François Legault (who are not Conservatives but more Tory than Liberals).
The Conservative leader has made many allies among the premiers since he began condemning the federal carbon tax and promised to convene a first ministers' meeting on internal trade within the first 100 days of his mandate if elected next October.
In fact, Andrew Scheer faced only one hostile opponent on his way during the Calgary Stampede. People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier who appealed directly to Premier Jason Kenney, urging him to reconsider his support for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer as he announced Edmonton-area and northern Alberta PPC candidates for the upcoming federal election. Bernier continued his appeal for conservative Albertan voters by taking aim at Scheer’s “weak” leadership. Bernier is spending nine days this month campaigning in Alberta. Bernier narrowly lost the bid for Conservative party leadership to Scheer in 2017. He then left the party last fall to form the right-wing PPC shortly after. Recent polls indicate that the CPC is polling at around 34.6 per cent support in the upcoming federal election, compared to approximately 2.4 per cent for the PPC.
The Conservative Party of Canada still holds the lead with an average of 34.6 per cent support. The good news for Andrew Scheer is that his support has been growing in Quebec and is now steadily above the 20 per cent mark which is better than what Stephen Harper did in 2008, 2011 and 2015.
With four months ahead of the election, the Conservatives remain in the lead in national seat projection with an average of 159 seats. What if, hypothetically, Ontario were to be split in half between Liberals and Conservatives? It would make for a long and late election night on Oct. 21st.