The resignation of Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada came as a surprise to Mel Arnold, MP for the North Okanagan-Shuswap.
Arnold says he and most of the Conservative MPs learned of Scheer’s decision Thursday morning during a special caucus to discuss the NAFTA trade deal. He said Scheer thought it would be a good time to make the announcement before the Christmas break.
It was an emotional meeting.
“He talked over the attacks on him and his family over the past months,” Arnold said, pointing out that campaigns in general and leadership, in particular, can be difficult for families.
Asked his thoughts on a change in leadership, Arnold said the party is in a good position and has done well over the past three years under Scheer’s leadership.
“We won the popular vote in the last election, we gained more seats – more than any other party, we’ve been united for the past three years behind him with him as leader.”
He doesn’t see anything changing in his job, as Scheer has said he’ll stay on until a new leader is in place. Arnold predicts Conservative MPs will stay united as a caucus with one goal – to become the next government of Canada.
At this point, he doesn’t know who will run for the position, but he says the party will remain strong.
“Of course there will be different leadership contestants pulling us in different directions; even through the last contest we remained effective as the Official Opposition.”
Arnold assures his own name will not be on the ballot.
Overall, he admires how Scheer has maintained a work-life balance with five children and a wife plus the challenges of leadership.
“Especially over the past few months, it’s been difficult but he’s always been there doing the job and supporting his family at the same time.”