Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. (Submitted)

LETTER: Andrew Scheer may be most underrated political leader in Western world

Former MP John Weston writes about an evening he hosted with the federal Conservative leader

“What can you hope for in someone aspiring to lead our country?”

That’s the question in my mind as I prepared to host Andrew Scheer at my home in West Vancouver Friday night, along with about 75 others eager to meet him. He’s at the most malleable time in his leadership career, recently elected, and seemingly open to guidance from people like those he met in the room.

The answer to my question became more and more apparent as Andrew spoke. As friends dispersed later, several came independently to the same conclusion. We wanted to observe humility, compassion, integrity, and someone committed to listen to the people he aims to serve.

The humility side he’s learned from being consistently underrated in politics, surrounding himself with strong supporters, and beating the odds. Andrew may be the most underrated political leader in the Western world. At the tender age of 25, he beat the odds in 2004, winning his first election as MP against a 30-year parliamentary veteran, Lorne Nystrom. At 32, he defied the experts once again in 2011, becoming Canada’s youngest ever Speaker of the House. And he beat the odds a third time to emerge victorious over 15 other candidates who sought the Conservative Party leadership in 2016.

The compassion angle is especially important for a Conservative leader. Andrew acknowledged the importance of rehabilitation, not just the expectable commitment to incarcerate repeat offenders. Imagine how Canadians would respond to a leader who pledged intelligent, effective support to the prisoners of drug addiction.

The integrity piece is key, as we want leaders who will do the right thing even when no one is watching. You don’t have to share his faith as a devoted Catholic Christian to believe he has a personal stake in doing the right thing. That same integrity allows for him to remain loyal to whatever commitments he makes as he prepares to potentially lead the country. At the same time, integrity will require him to change position while making the necessary adjustments when the good of the whole country requires a special interest group to yield.

Finally, Andrew seemed intent on listening to people he met. With his energy, mental nimbleness, and the ability to identify people who can enrich his understanding of key issues, he has the makings to grow into a great Canadian leader.

John Weston

John Weston is a lawyer specializing in government relations and indigenous affairs, author of the book On!, and former Conservative Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.

* The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the North Island Gazette. If you have a different opinion, we request you write to us to contribute to the conversation.

Just Posted

Province to pass $1.25-million repair bill for South Surrey overpass on to ICBC

152 Street overpass was struck by overheight truck on Dec. 4, 2017

Ex-Mountie who investigated ‘Surrey six’ murders gets conditional sentence

Derek Brassington pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday

Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser to support Cloverdale Community Kitchen

Kitchen, emergency weather shelter seeing increased turnout

How fallen Surrey Mountie’s Stetson ended up in Europe puzzles police

Constable Terry Draginda’s hat is repatriated after being found at a flea market in Hamburg, Germany

Surrey social justice activist wins Sher Vancouver’s Youth Leadership Award

Shilpa Narayan says her work is about ‘ensuring a safe space’ for marginalized youth

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Most Read