The cover story in this month’s Maclean’s magazine says it all: “Andrew Scheer has a problem.” Namely, Scheer seems to have a real issue standing up to intolerance and even out-right racism in his own conservative movement.
Here are just some of the examples of Scheer’s all-too-cozy relationship with extremism:
- MP who read New Zealand Mosque-shooter’s manifesto to Muslim committee witness stays in Scheer’s caucus. While testifying at a committee study on online hate, a Muslim anti-racism activist was berated by Michael Cooper, one of Andrew Scheer’s Edmonton-area MPs. As part of his tirade, Cooper read out part of the 74-page manifesto of the Christchurch mass shooter. The manifesto is banned in New Zealand—but reading it in a committee room wasn’t enough to get Cooper banned from Scheer’s Conservative caucus.
- Scheer speaks at extremist “yellow vest” rally alongside notorious white nationalist, Faith Goldy. In February, Andrew Scheer told a group which included extreme anti-immigration protesters that his Conservatives were “standing with you” in their fight against the Liberal government. Shortly after Scheer addressed the crowd, so did Faith Goldy—a notorious white nationalist who was fired by the far-right Rebel Media for appearing on a neo-Nazi podcast. When asked to explain, Scheer’s office would only concede that there may have been some “bad apples” at the event.
- Board member of the far-right Rebel Media installed as national director for Scheer’s 2019 campaign. Despite controversy surrounding The Rebel’s extremist views and its coverage of white supremacists at the deadly protest in Charlottesville, Andrew Scheer named a former Rebel Media director to be his national campaign manager. Hamish Marshall, who until as recently as 2017 was listed as a director on Rebel Media’s website, also helped Scheer win the leadership of the Conservative Party. Scheer himself has appeared as a guest on Rebel Media programming, including Faith Goldy’s show “On The Hunt.”
- Scheer dithers, refuses to take immediate action after Conservative senator publishes racist letters on her website. In an attempt to defend her offensive views—including describing Canada’s residential school system as “well-intentioned”—Conservative senator Lynn Beyak published racist letters that were sent to her on her senate website. Instead of taking immediate action, Andrew Scheer dithered. Even after Beyak suggested First Nations peoples give up their status cards and trade them in for Canadian citizenship, Scheer said he was “not ready” to remove her from his caucus.
- Another Conservative senator questions whether white supremacy is really a threat—and is allowed to remain in Scheer’s caucus. Andrew Scheer was forced to explicitly denounce white supremacy after his senate caucus colleagued Leo Housakos described it as not a “threat to our way of life.” Housakos comments came after numerous, deadly acts of far-right terrorism in recent years—including the murder of a protestor in Charlottesville and Mosque shootings in Quebec and New Zealand. Housakos never apologized for his remarks and remains in Scheer’s caucus to this day.
With racism, intolerance, and anti-immigration politics on the rise in western countries, it would be downright dangerous to elect a leader who’s too weak to stand up to these trends. But Andrew Scheer has shown us time and time again that’s exactly what he is—and that weakness could cost us the inclusive Canadian values we cherish.