An­drew Scheer says he and Doug Ford are work­ing to­ward same goals

Asian Journal - - NATION -

Toronto: Fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer shrugged off sug­ges­tions Tues­day that On­tario’s pre­mier was over­shad­ow­ing him on mat­ters of im­por­tance to the na­tional Con­ser­va­tive cause, say­ing they sim­ply shared com­mon goals.

Scheer faced pointed ques­tions about Doug Ford’s po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence af­ter meet­ing with the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive pre­mier at On­tario’s leg­is­la­ture, where the pair dis­cussed is­sues in­clud­ing their op­po­si­tion to the fed­eral Lib­eral car­bon pric­ing plan.

Ford has been a strong critic of the tax, launch­ing a court chal­lenge against it and raising his op­po­si­tion to it dur­ing re­cent trips to meet with Con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal lead­ers in Saskatchewan and Al­berta. Scheer, when asked whose brand was stronger, said he and Ford were both work­ing to­ward im­prov­ing life for Cana­di­ans.

“The is­sue here is who’s on the right side of the peo­ple of On­tario and the right side of Cana­di­ans,” Scheer said. “The brand I’m closely as­so­ci­ated with is the brand of low­er­ing costs for Cana­di­ans, mak­ing life more af­ford­able and stand­ing up to new taxes.” Scheer dis­missed sug­ges­tions that Ford was try­ing to re­place him as the face of the fed­eral Con­ser­va­tives, not­ing that he had re­cently trav­elled to many of the same places the On­tario pre­mier had been to.

“I was just in Nova Sco­tia at the pro­vin­cial PC lead­er­ship there, I’ll be here in On­tario for the PC (con­ven­tion),” he said. “I’ve been in Al­berta for their PC lead­er­ship. There’s great co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral par­ties when we have in­ter­ests (and) com­mon ground.” In Ot­tawa, how­ever, the fed­eral min­is­ter of in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal af­fairs sug­gested Ford had sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence over Scheer.

“The Leader of the Op­po­si­tion is at Queen’s Park to­day get­ting his march­ing or­ders from Doug Ford on Stephen Harper’s failed plan to deal with cli­mate change,” Do­minic Leblanc said dur­ing Ques­tion Pe­riod. “Cana­di­ans ex­pect bet­ter from the leader of the Con­ser­va­tive Party.”

Ford, for his part, en­dorsed Scheer ear­lier on Tues­day, call­ing him Canada’s next prime min­is­ter in a so­cial me­dia mes­sage. He also told re­porters the only way to get rid of the fed­eral car­bon tax was to de­feat the prime min­is­ter in next year’s fed­eral elec­tion. “If you get rid of Justin Trudeau you’re go­ing to have more money in your pocket,” Ford said. “Busi­nesses are go­ing to be able to thrive.” Mean­while, op­po­si­tion leg­is­la­tors in On­tario said Ford has been cam­paign­ing on be­half of Scheer in­stead of fo­cus­ing on the work of his pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

“The Pre­mier and his cau­cus have been try­ing to do An­drew Scheer’s work for him,” said in­terim Lib­eral leader John Fraser. “So, it’s not sur­pris­ing that An­drew would be here to say thank you.”

NDP Leader An­drea Hor­wath said Ford’s at­ten­tion to fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive causes meant less time deal­ing with is­sues of im­por­tance to On­tario. Wil­frid Lau­rier Uni­ver­sity po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor Barry Kay said Ford is be­hav­ing as if he has am­bi­tions be­yond be­ing On­tario’s pre­mier, but that would be down the road, af­ter the next fed­eral elec­tion. “Ford is very much try­ing to present him­self as a na­tional fig­ure,” he said. “Scheer and Ford have very dif­fer­ent styles. Ford is much more hard-edged ... Scheer on the other hand, what­ever cur­rency that he has po­lit­i­cally is that he’s lik­able.”

Kay said Ford could prove to be an as­set for Scheer in the run up to the next fed­eral vote where the Con­ser­va­tives will need to take seats from the Lib­er­als in or­der to win or hold them to a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment.

“Scheer is just rec­og­niz­ing that On­tario is crit­i­cal to the next elec­tion,” he said. “He’s us­ing what­ever help he can.” By Shawn Jef­fords, The Cana­dian Press

An­drew Scheer

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