Andrew Scheer said he’s determined to win seats back for the Conservatives on Vancouver Island while on a visit to the Cowichan Valley.
The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada said that, after the last election in 2015 when the NDP took five of the six seats on the Island, he and his team are working hard to reconnect with the Island’s people and “engage with the grass roots” of the party.
Scheer and his wife Jill were greeted by a large crowd of supporters and the curious at the Cowichan Exhibition Grounds on Jan. 25 after a two-day meeting of the Conservative’s parliamentary caucus in Victoria this week.
“The work to get back seats on the Island starts now, and we’re excited as a party to do that,” Scheer said.
“We’re receiving a lot of feedback from our Conservative Party members on the Island, and others here as well, in our efforts to ensure that we win back the government in the next election.”
Asked what strategies he would engage to deal with the growing homeless problem on the Island if he’s elected prime minister, Scheer said his government would first identify what is causing the crisis.
“We know there have been some changes to the mortgage rules that have pushed home ownership out of the reach of many, so we would work to develop strategies to help create opportunities for these people,” he said.
“Many of the homeless are also facing mental health and addiction issues and the federal government has a role to play there in efforts to help them.”
Scheer said he’s optimistic with the feedback he has received on his visit to the Island, and feels that many are looking for an alternative to Trudeau and the Liberals.
“Many people feel that the prime minister has sold them a bill of goods,” he said.
“People are concerned about ballooning deficits, broken promises and policies that hurt Canadians. We want to balance the nation’s budget and not have to borrow from future generations. A Conservative government would leverage the power of the free market to create more opportunities so that we can see better results.”
Scheer said when your party is in opposition, the measure of success is sometimes based on keeping the government from doing “terrible things and implementing bad ideas”.
He said they include Liberal proposals last summer that would have included the elimination of some small business tax provisions and a crackdown on passive investments by entrepreneurs.
“We fought hard against this unprecedented attack on local business owners and worked with the people of this country to show the Liberals the error of their ways,” he said.
“But we’re not out of the woods yet as the Liberals are considering new rules to keep businesses from creating jobs, and attacking employee benefits as well. These are the same guys who say they have a monopoly on compassion.”
Scheer said he’s looking forward to getting back to work next week when Parliament reconvenes.
“These are exciting times for me and my Conservative team,” he said.
“We’re working hard to ensure that Justin Trudeau is a one-term prime minister.”