Canadian Conservative Leader’s Resignation Follows String of Public Falsehoods

The leader of Canada’s Conservative Party resigned his position on December 12 2019 after he was accused by party members of misusing their group’s money to pay for his children to attend private schools.

According to Global News, senior Conservative Party members said that Andrew Scheer did not consult the board in charge of party funding before using the money to cover the schooling costs for four of his five children.

Scheer was first elected to office in 2004, at which point he began making between CAD$170,000 and $180,000 a year. In 2011, his salary went up by $85,000 when he was elected Speaker of the House of Commons. At that point, he also received housing and a personal driver through public funding. He was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 2017.

Scheer’s resignation is not effective immediately; he will stay on while his party searches for his replacement, and he will remain in office as a Minister of Parliament (MP) for Regina-Qu’Appelle.

The apparent misuse of the party funding would constitute the latest example of disinformation and deception from Scheer. In September 2019, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported that his experience in the private sector — which Scheer offered as proof of his qualifications — was “scant”:

In 2003, he worked briefly as a waiter in Regina after moving there to be with his future wife, Jill. Then he spent a few months working in insurance — although what he did isn’t exactly clear.

In official bios (such as the one on his Facebook page), Mr. Scheer is said to have been an insurance broker before entering public life. His office said he was an insurance agent. He was not.

The Globe and Mail found no record he ever received the licence required by law to work as an insurance agent or broker in Saskatchewan. Asked to clarify, Mr. Scheer’s spokesman, Daniel Schow, said earlier this week that Mr. Scheer took broker courses, but left the industry before receiving a licence. The job functions Mr. Schow listed were clerical, such as issuing licence plates and collecting payments.

At any rate, Mr. Scheer’s insurance career was brief.

The Globe and Mail reported that Scheer left the firm “within months.” Members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party called for an investigation into the matter following the story. A profile of Scheer on the Conservative Party website still states — falsely — that he worked as an insurance broker.

Shortly before that story broke, Scheer peddled multiple other falsehoods hinging on xenophobia and fear-mongering. For example, he spread the false claim that Jon Venables, a British man convicted of murder in 1993 when he was 10 years old for torturing and killing a 2-year-old boy, would be allowed to enter Canada. He falsely accused the Liberal Party of pushing to decriminalize all illicit drugs — a position that was actually endorsed by the Green Party as part a healthcare-based approach to curbing opioid addiction.

And during a nationally-televised debate between party leaders that same month, Scheer smeared refugees seeking asylum in the country by claiming that “some people are skipping the line and jumping the queue,” a false characterization of the asylum process in that it conflated refugees seeking asylum at the country’s border and dealing with Canadian authorities with those entering the country from overseas, whose claims are processed by the United Nations Refugee Agency.