Scheer open to aid on Muskrat Falls

Fed­eral leader hopes to hit the re­set but­ton on Con­ser­va­tive pol­i­tics in N.L.

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - BY DAVID MA­HER

Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada Leader An­drew Scheer isn’t say­ing no to fed­eral in­ter­ven­tion on in­creas­ing elec­tric­ity costs in New­found­land and Labrador — but he’s not say­ing yes, ei­ther.

“I be­lieve that would be in­cum­bent upon the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to make the ask to de­ter­mine what it is that they might be look­ing for and to make the case,” said Sheer.

“I would have an open ear to what the prov­ince may or may not be look­ing for.”

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment, un­der both for­mer Con­ser­va­tive Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper and Liberal Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, has sup­plied two loan guar­an­tees to the prov­ince to help keep bor­row­ing costs down — but there has been no dis­cus­sion on whether fed­eral in­ter­ven­tion will be sought to help keep elec­tric­ity rates down.

Scheer was in St. John’s on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day for meet­ings with pro­vin­cial Con­ser­va­tive lead­ers, in­clud­ing a meet­ing with the New­found­land and Labrador Em­ploy­ers’ Coun­cil on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Some na­tional pun­dits have pegged Scheer as a re­it­er­a­tion of Stephen Harper, who won just four seats in New­found­land and Labrador dur­ing his ten­ure as prime min­is­ter.

Scheer says he wants to hit the re­set but­ton on the fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive party’s record in New­found­land and Labrador.

“Al­most im­me­di­ately after win­ning the lead­er­ship I de­cided I wanted to get to At­lantic Canada. We were shut out of the re­gion, and I need to un­der­stand why,” said Scheer.

Per­haps Scheer’s most im­por­tant ally in the prov­ince — N.L. PC Leader Ches Cros­bie — is one high pro­file ex­am­ple of a rift be­tween the Fed­eral and pro­vin­cial con­ser­va­tives. In the lead up to the 2015 fed­eral elec­tion, Cros­bie tried to put him­self for­ward as the fed­eral can­di­date in the Avalon rid­ing. After video sur­faced of Cros­bie mak­ing a joke at Stephen Harper’s ex­pense at a fundraiser for a lo­cal the­atre group, Cros­bie was canned by the Con­ser­va­tives.

Scheer says he’s con­fi­dent he and Cros­bie will have a good re­la­tion­ship, de­spite a rocky road in the past.

An Aba­cus Data poll re­leased on July 31 sug­gests a neck-and-neck race be­tween the Lib­er­als and Con­ser­va­tives head­ing into the next fed­eral elec­tion.

The poll says the Lib­er­als have 36 per cent of the vote, with the Con­ser­va­tives at 34 per cent and the New Demo­cratic Party at 19 per cent sup­port.

The Con­ser­va­tives al­ready have one can­di­date in place in New­found­land and Labrador — Mike Wind­sor will run in Bon­av­ista-Burin-Trin­ity, a rid­ing cur­rently held by Liberal Churence Rogers.

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