Andrew Scheer has an ally in Surrey MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay. The Conservative MP for South Surrey-White Rock says Scheer has earned the party’s loyalty and should continue at its helm.
She said this a few days after the Oct. 21 federal election, amid mutinous rumblings in the news media that Scheer’s leadership could be in jeopardy.
“To me, he’s earned our loyalty,” Findlay told the Now-Leader. “He’s returned 26 new members – a third of them are B.C. – so we’re going back with the most members of any party, from B.C. We’re going to have a really energized and larger B.C. caucus, and I believe that we need to have discussions, but I don’t think we should be discussing leadership.
“To me, he’s fought a good fight. He came into a situation where at the beginning everyone assumed Justin Trudeau would have at least two majority terms. He’s been held to just a one-term majority. He goes in having lost many seats; we go in with the highest popular vote count, which means that more Canadians like our messaging more than his even though the riding count is in his favour.”
Findlay said she doesn’t understand why there isn’t more talk of a change of leadership in the NDP considering Jagmeet Singh “lost many seats for that party and also that party is, from all reports, struggling financially which is also a job of the leader, to raise funds and inspire the electorate to vote for their candidates.
“So, I find it interesting that there’s some talk in our party but not in that party that I’m aware of,” she said.
Findlay defeated Liberal incumbent Gordon Hogg with 24,044 votes (42.1 per cent) to his 21,319 (37.3 per cent).
This is Findlay’s second term as an MP. She served in Stephen Harper’s majority Conservative government from May 2011 to October 2015 as MP for Delta-Richmond East.
She was the parliamentary secretary to justice (2011 to 2013), associate minister of national defence (2013) and minister of national revenue (2013 to 2015).
Findlay said she’s sure that serving as an opposition MP in a minority government parliament will be a “very different experience.”
The official opposition’s role, she notes, is to hold the government to account.
“Obviously you will be doing that by promoting your own approach, or your party’s approach, to the issues of the day. But it truly is your responsibility in our Westminster system to question government, hold them to account but also in the way this minority parliament has shaken out, it will be very much, issue by issue, a matter of cooperation, reaching across the aisle, because there is no formal coalition like we’ve seen here in B.C.”
The popular vote went our way, which I think puts us in a very strong position,” she said. “With the shutout in Alberta and Saskatchewan, we have something to say, the voters like what we’re saying and you are going to have to take into account when you look to us to support some of your legislative initiatives.”
Does Findlay think her party, and the other opposition parties, have an appetite to pursue a no confidence motion vote as soon as possible?
“I haven’t even had our first caucus meeting,” she said. “There has been no discussion about approach or strategy or any of that, but certainly that’s not something you move to do usually immediately…. I do know that statistically minority governments usually last less than two years.”
Canada’s last minority government before this one was under Stephen Harper, from 2008 to 2011, and lasted two and a half years.
“It would be rare for it to last for four, that’s for sure,” she noted of this one.
Prime Minister Trudeau is expected to swear in his new cabinet on Nov. 20.
Surrey returned three Liberal MPs to Ottawa – incumbents Ken Hardie (Fleetwood-Port Kells), Randeep Sarai (Surrey Centre) and Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey-Newton) – and two Conservatives.
Tamara Jansen unseated Liberal incumbent John Aldag in Cloverdale-Langley City, with 20,772 votes to his 19,470. She could not be reached for comment.