Scheer rallies support in visits to Peterborough, Bethany temple
Local candidate joins Conservative leader as he speaks to voters
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer made a campaign stop at the Pizza Factory on Saturday, where he toured the restaurant with Conservative candidate Michael Skinner and shook hands with people as they ate lunch.
Skinner told The Examiner that it was energizing to have Scheer visit.
“We’re still out knocking on doors,” Skinner said, and he noted that in Peterborough-Kawartha people’s priorities seem to be affordability, the environment and restoring ethics to Parliament (in that order).
Scheer did not make remarks in the restaurant, but spoke individually to diners as he made his way around the restaurant.
The Pizza Factory was packed for Sheer’s arrival shortly after noon, and restaurant owner Peter Bouzinelos said he was happy to accommodate the leader — and that his restaurant was the chosen spot because it’s conveniently located off Lansdowne Street at The Parkway.
Although the restaurant was packed with supporters, there were eight protesters outside from the local chapter of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion.
One of the protesters was Sean Paul Cowling, who was hurt when he was pushed to the ground last month at a climate protest outside Skinner’s campaign office.
Peter Morgan, another protester, said the demonstration was small because it was organized at the last minute; Scheer’s visit was only made public Friday evening.
There were also two counterprotesters wearing red T-shirts reading “Make Canada Great Again.”
Inside the restaurant, there were several local Conservatives, including MPP Dave Smith.
Kathy Katula was also there. She’s the woman who blasted Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau at a 2017 town hall at the Evinrude Centre in Peterborough over her expensive hydro bill.
She told Trudeau then that she scrimped and saved to buy a home and raise four children. On Saturday,
she made a point to shake hands with the Conservative leader at the Pizza Factory.
“I’m all on board for Scheer — I support him 100 per cent,” she said.
Katula described herself as “a rural grandma” who didn’t know the first thing about politics when she attended that town hall in 2017, and says she didn’t know Liberal policies from Conservative ones.
But on Saturday she wore a blue T-shirt declaring her support for Scheer. She was also on hand when Scheer visited Peterborough for a Conservative party event in the summer.
Another supporter, Robert Scrymgeour, said he’s tired of Liberal MPs who lack integrity leading the country.
“It’s like a hockey team: the Liberals have low-quality players,” Scrymgeour said.
Earlier in the day, The Canadian Press reported, Scheer was near Bethany, southwest of Peterborough, at the official opening of what was described as the largest Buddhist temple outside China.
Scheer has been dogged this week by questions about his dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship, his anti-abortion stance and, most recently, by the news the party kicked out a candidate in B.C. for past slurs against the LGBTQ community.
But Scheer was warmly welcomed by hundreds of worshippers attending the celebration.
Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden president Dayi Shi introduced Scheer and translated his last name into Chinese, saying it meant “calm mind gives rise to wisdom.”
The Conservative leader visited a harvest festival in Newcastle later Saturday, where he was asked about his decision to cut ties with B.C. candidate Heather Leung, who suggested in a YouTube video posted in 2013, that LGBTQ people need to “recruit” children.
“As you know, the candidate has been fired from our campaign,” Scheer said, walking briskly toward his tour bus.
The Conservative campaign is scheduled to take Sunday off, before picking up again Monday for the English-language debate in Ottawa.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer greets supporters during a campaign stop at the Pizza Factory restaurant on Lansdowne Street on Saturday.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is presented his Chinese name as he attends the opening of a Buddhist Temple in Bethany on Saturday.