Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Moments after Andrew Scheer announced Thursday his intention to resign as Conservative party leader, speculation turned to who will replace him.

Two of his prominent rivals in the 2017 leadership contest, Maxime Bernier and Kevin O’Leary, quickly ruled themselves out. As did Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, all leaders of conservative provincial parties.

But there are plenty of others who could yet toss their hats in the ring. And that means the coming race could turn out to be every bit as crowded as 2017, when 13 contenders vied for the Tory crown.

Here’s a look at some of the potential leadership candidates:

— Peter MacKay, the last leader of the Progressive Conservative party before it merged in 2003 with the Canadian Alliance to become today’s Conservative party. He was variously minister of justice, foreign affairs and defence in Stephen Harper’s governments from 2006 to 2015, when he retired from politics. He has been practising law in Toronto since then.

He declined to run for the leadership in 2017 but his name is almost always the first mentioned in speculation about successors to Scheer. MacKay has repeatedly professed to be wholeheartedly supportive of Scheer but he raised eyebrows recently when he said the Conservatives’ failure to defeat Justin Trudeau’s vulnerable Liberals on Oct. 21 ”was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”

— Rona Ambrose, a former Harper-era minister. She filled in as interim leader when Harper resigned after losing the 2015 election and her smart, tough performance was widely credited with keeping the Conservatives in the parliamentary game while the party engaged in a 18-month process to select a new permanent leader.

The Liberals admire Ambrose too. Trudeau tapped her to join an advisory group during tumultuous negotiations with the U.S. and Mexico on an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement. There has been speculation in Liberal circles that Trudeau might appoint her as Canada’s ambassador to Washington.

— James Moore, another former Harper-era cabinet minister. Moore was widely respected and considered future leadership material but chose to not to seek re-election in 2015 due to his young son’s serious health challenges. He has been practising law in Vancouver since then. Moore was also a member of Trudeau’s NAFTA advisory group.

— Brad Wall, former premier of Saskatchewan. He has long been cited as a potential national leader, despite declaring two years ago that he was done with politics.

— Erin O’Toole, former Harper-era minister and MP for the Ontario riding of Durham. O’Toole, considered a moderate, finished third in the 2017 leadership contest.

— Lisa Raitt, former Harper-era minister and Scheer’s one-time deputy leader. Raitt finished eighth in the 2017 leadership race and lost her Milton, Ont., seat in the Oct. 21 election to a star Liberal recruit, Olympian Adam van Koeverden.

— Michael Chong, MP for the Ontario riding of Wellington-Halton Hills. He was briefly a minister in Harper’s first cabinet but quit in protest against a government motion recognizing the Quebecois as a nation within a united Canada. In a departure from Conservative orthodoxy, he supported imposition of a carbon tax during the 2017 leadership contest, in which he finished fifth.

— Pierre Poilievre, former Harper-era minister and Ottawa MP. Poilievre has won a reputation as a hyper-partisan pit bull, someone who is willing to say or do whatever is necessary to score political points or take down an opponent. He has been one of the Conservatives’ most effective communicators.

RELATED: Scheer facing new kind of civil war brewing within the Conservative party (Nov. 1, 2019)

— Brad Trost, former MP. Trost, an ardent pro-lifer, finished fourth in the 2017 contest, largely on the strength of support from social conservatives. He helped determine the outcome of the race by throwing his support to Scheer. He subsequently became embroiled with the party over allegations that his campaign had leaked the party membership list to an outside group and eventually lost a nomination contest that would have entitled him to run for re-election this fall in his Saskatchewan riding.

— Caroline Mulroney, the Ontario government’s transportation minister and daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney. When Patrick Brown abruptly resigned as Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader less than six months before the 2018 Ontario election, Mulroney was pressed to run for leader even though she had no political experience and had not yet been elected to the legislature. She finished third behind Ford and Christine Elliott.

— Any number of sitting MPs could be in the mix, including Michelle Rempel Garner, deputy leader Leona Alleslev, Steven Blaney and Stephanie Kusie.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

160 new COVID-19 cases reported in Alberta on Tuesday

Province now has 1,571 active cases

Return to class has gone better than expectation, WCPS says

Staff with Wolf Creek Public Schools say the return to in-class teaching has gone very well

Six months into the pandemic, at least some things are getting back to normal for rural producers

‘Things are kind of getting more normal it seems… (we’re) just having to learn how to deal with everything how it is.’

RCMP remind Albertans to practice rail safety

In 2019, Alberta had the second highest number of total railway crossing incidents

No safe mask option for bearded members, RCMP says, but force is exploring solutions

RCMP says respirator not mandatory in all front-line situations, but sometimes needed to reduce risk

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

CP Holiday Train cancelled this year; virtual concert to be held in lieu of event

Canadian Pacific will still donate to local food banks in its network and host a virtual concert.

Survey finds doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE will lag demand

Canadian health officials have said additional flu vaccines have been ordered to meet expected demand

Ahead of likely second wave, 60% of Canadians relaxing COVID-19 measures

Proportion of Canadians following safety measures has dropped by 3 per cent in the past two weeks

Canada’s population tops 38 million, even as COVID-19 pandemic slows growth

Immigration, the top population driver, decreased due to the pandemic

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Most Read