Can the se­lec­tion of An­drew Scheer woo the youth vote from the Lib­er­als?

Can An­drew Scheer lure young vot­ers from Lib­er­als?

StarMetro Vancouver - - NEWS - Ryan tu­milty

With An­drew Scheer, the Con­ser­va­tive Party picked the youngest lead­er­ship choice avail­able this past week­end, but it’s un­clear whether that will be enough to at­tract key younger vot­ers.

At 38, Scheer is younger than Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau or cur­rent NDP Leader Tom Mul­cair.

The Con­ser­va­tives lost in 2015, not be­cause their core sup­port left them but be­cause a new crop of 18- to 34-year-old vot­ers turned out to sup­port Justin Trudeau.

James Hawkes, 25, is among Scheer’s sup­port­ers. Joined by fel­low party mem­bers in Saska­toon, where he is in­volved with cam­pus Con­ser­va­tives, he watched his pre­ferred can­di­date come to vic­tory. Hawkes has no doubt Scheer will be able to bridge the gen­er­a­tional di­vide.

“He’s the closet thing we have had to a mil­len­nial in any of the ma­jor par­ties,” he said. “An­drew is go­ing to ap­peal to youth, def­i­nitely.”

Hawkes said mil­len­ni­als don’t all think the same way, and Scheer’s pledge to re­move fund­ing from uni­ver­si­ties that don’t pro­tect free­dom of speech will have broad ap­peal.

“They don’t feel they’re al­lowed to speak about what mat­ters to them and their be­liefs on var­i­ous top­ics,” he said.

Quito Maggi, pres­i­dent of Main­street Re­search, polled ex­ten­sively on the race. He said that even though Scheer is younger, he’s un­likely to tap into the youth vote.

“De­spite An­drew Scheer’s ap­pear­ance and age, they picked the wrong can­di­date to ap­peal to mil­len­ni­als,” said Maggi. “With his ide­ol­ogy, with his pol­icy back­ground, I don’t think he is go­ing to have an easy time.”

He said Scheer’s so­cial con­ser­vatism — even if he is com­mit­ting not to leg­is­late on it — is go­ing to be a tough sell for younger vot­ers.

Maggi said he be­lieves Scheer is bank­ing on those vot­ers stay­ing home or grav­i­tat­ing to a new NDP leader in 2019.

“He’s not in­ter­ested in in­creas­ing the size of the Con­ser­va­tive tent,” he said. “There is no real in­ter­est in reach­ing out.”


An­drew Scheer, cen­tre, newly elected leader of the Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada, with his ri­val Maxime Bernier, left, fol­low­ing his win on Satur­day.

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