Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton was “surprised” to learn Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer would resign Thursday, but he said he understands the reasoning and sees it as an opportunity for the party.
Scheer met with his caucus prior to announcing his resignation on the House of Commons floor.
“Andrew is the sort of leader who recognizes that the party and the movement are greater than any one person,” Stanton said. “It’s a situation where he’s obviously wrestling with what’s best for the party, not just for him.”
After October’s election, Scheer acknowledged it was not the result his party had hoped for, yet the Conservatives gained 22 seats and won the popular vote, helping to knock the Liberals out of majority rule.
“He recognizes it will take someone else to take us to the next level,” Stanton said.
It would be “too much speculation” to comment on who he thinks would be a good successor, but Stanton believes “there will be some excellent candidates coming forward.”
“It’s clear our party needs to find a way to expand on our support.”
Scheer received a standing ovation from members of all parties after making his announcement Thursday, and that bipartisan show of respect was “encouraging,” Stanton said.
“It’s a moment of unified recognition, in this case, of the pressures that come to bear on people in leadership positions,” he said, referring to Scheer’s comment that he needs to focus on his family, including his young children. “These are obligations that should take centre stage.”
If Scheer had not resigned, Stanton would still have stood behind him.
“I was always in support of the leader and I would have continued to be,” he said.
Scheer will stay on as MP for Regina-Qu'Appelle, Sask.