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EDITORIAL: Scheer struggles to survive political predators

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has said he let his passport expire and met U.S. consular officials in August to begin the paperwork to renounce his American citizenship.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. — File photo

If you have even a sliver of non-partisan humanity inside you, you’ve got to be getting a little bit uncomfortable about the latest show in Ottawa.

Politics may well be a rough-and-tumble game, but watching the slow-motion immolation of Andrew Scheer’s career as opposition leader can’t help but make reasonable people cringe a little.

Imagine being in his shoes: even before the election was complete there was a smattering of senior Tories actively working to replace him. And it’s only gotten worse.

After failing to topple a teetering Justin Trudeau in the federal election, Scheer’s Conservative naysayers got a little more brazen.

But his campaign to stay looks a bit like one of those big black iridescent beetles that sometimes show up in the middle of your basement floor, lying on their backs and waving their legs feebly as they try unsuccessfully to right themselves.

Now, even Conservatives who claimed to be 100 per cent behind Scheer, his approach and his style during the election are coming up with arguments that Scheer has to change things dramatically if he wants to stay as leader. Others are arguing he has to go right away so that the party can come up with Leader 2.0 in time for the next election. Now, senior Tories have even set up a non-profit organization, Conservative Victory, to give their current leader the shove. And a leadership review is only months away.

Scheer’s fighting back as best he can, the latest salvo being a social media video from a Saskatchewan senator arguing that Scheer should stay. (Memo from the cheap seats: laudatory messages from those holding valuable political sinecures might not be the best kind of support for an opposition leader to anchor his hopes on. Kind of hearkens back to the gift-giving glory days.)

Scheer is also reportedly seeking support as he travels the country on a post-election tour.

Scheer himself told Tories last week he is “entirely uninterested in what the talking heads, the naysayers and the people who make their money by stirring up division in our party have to say.”

But his campaign to stay looks a bit like one of those big black iridescent beetles that sometimes show up in the middle of your basement floor, lying on their backs and waving their legs feebly as they try unsuccessfully to right themselves.

The argument can certainly be made that, if you live by the sword, you can’t really complain about dying that way. Scheer’s Conservative Party certainly did dish out similar kinds of attacks on the Liberals over Justin Trudeau’s pre-election woes, and the Conservative leadership campaign that brought Scheer to the job had its own deal-making and assorted other nastiness.

It truly is winner take all.

That doesn’t make it any easier to watch, nor does it prevent anyone who doesn’t really have a stake in the game from predicting just exactly how this one’s eventually going to play out. (Hint — the predators always pick out the wounded prey.)

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