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Canada Andrew Scheer gets a rocky reception at meeting with Quebec Conservatives

20:45  26 november  2019
20:45  26 november  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Tory Sen. Dagenais quits caucus over Scheer's socially conservative views

  Tory Sen. Dagenais quits caucus over Scheer's socially conservative views OTTAWA — Conservative Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais is leaving his party's caucus over concerns about leader Andrew Scheer's socially conservative views. Dagenais says he'll remain a member of the party, but he's going to sit with the newly-formed Canadian Senators Group in the upper chamber. Dagenais says Scheer's views on abortion and same-sex marriage led to a "mass exodus" of support in the province of Quebec and that he thinks there's noDagenais says he'll remain a member of the party, but he's going to sit with the newly-formed Canadian Senators Group in the upper chamber.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer got an earful from failed Quebec Tory candidates at a meeting in Montreal Monday — with some calling on him to step aside to allow someone else to lead the party into the next election.

Scheer has been on a listening tour of sorts since he came up short in the last election, which saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals secure a second mandate. Scheer is fighting to keep his job ahead of a scheduled leadership review vote at the party's next convention in April.

'He cannot win the next election in Quebec'

"Andrew Scheer isn't the man for the job. He lost the moral authority with his candidates, with Quebecers," said Maikel Mikhael, who ran for the party in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. He spoke to Radio-Canada, CBC's French-language arm, outside the meeting.

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"He cannot win the next election in Quebec, I will not get involved in the riding if he stays," said François Desrochers, the party's former candidate in Mirabel.

Marie-Claire Fournier ran for the party in Thérèse-De Blainville, placing a distant third behind the Bloc Québécois and Liberal candidates. She said she also wants Scheer to resign.

"The sooner we move on, the sooner we will be ready for the next election," she said.

Fournier said it's unlikely the Liberal government will last four years and the party needs to position itself, with a new leader, before another election is called. Failure to act would result in another disappointing result in Quebec, she said.

Scheer has faced a poor reception from Conservative Quebecers in particular.

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At the outset of the campaign, the party looked well-positioned to pick up seats in the province — but two shaky performances by Scheer in the French-language debates badly damaged his party's fortunes.

Scheer has fired his chief of staff, Marc-André Leclerc, who also was his chief adviser on Quebec issues. His director of communications, Brock Harrison, was also fired in a staff shake-up last Saturday.

One former caucus member, Quebec Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais, left the national Conservative caucus last week, citing Scheer's position on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. He argued Scheer's social conservatism torpedoed the party's fortunes in Quebec.

'Stuck in the past'

During the campaign, Scheer said he would defend the rights of all Canadians — but some noted LGBTQ Conservatives have since accused Scheer of being "stuck in the past" on issues that have long been settled.

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Dagenais also said Scheer attached a "low importance" to Quebec and he could no longer sit as a member of his caucus as a result.

"We have wasted a unique opportunity and the result will be the same the next time, if the current leader and those who advise him remain in office, as is the case at this time," Dagenais said in a statement.

While some failed Quebec candidates had a decidedly negative opinion of Scheer's leadership, others said they were prepared to give him a second chance.

Yves Lévesque, the former mayor of Trois-Rivières and a star candidate for the Conservative Party in the last election, said Scheer showed Monday he was ready to learn from past mistakes. (Lévesque lost to the Bloc candidate, coming in third.)

"He listened a lot, he understood the message, and it will be up to him to adjust his message," Lévesque said.

Scheer avoided reporters outside the event Monday and left without answering questions.

Scheer warns Liberals his Tories are watching as Parliament prepares to return .
OTTAWA — Opposition Conservatives are looking ahead to the return of Parliament Thursday as an opportunity to change the channel after weeks of very public party in-fighting around the future of leader Andrew Scheer. In a public speech to Conservative MPs and senators Wednesday, Scheer covered much of the same ground he's trod on for weeks following the October election: that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is responsible for dividing the country, weakening Canada's reputation on the world stage and setting up dangerous conditions in the event of an economic downturn.

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