The Conservative Party of Canada will have a new leader Saturday and Regina’s Andrew Scheer hopes it’ll be him.
Scheer is one of 13 hopefuls vying for the position of Tory top dog.
“I’m feeling cautiously optimistic,” he said by phone ahead of Saturday’s Conservative convention in Etobicoke, Ont.
“It’s going to be close but I think I have a really good shot.”
If Scheer doesn’t find himself victorious, he said he’s still feeling good about the Conservatives’ future.
“I’m really encouraged by the state of the party,” he said, noting that membership has grown to 270,000 people, with the potential for a record number of ballots to be cast in Saturday’s vote.
“We have a lot that we can put forward to Canadians that I believe will resonate in a powerful way and we’ll have an opportunity to earn their trust back in 2019,” he said.
“I think being from Saskatchewan is a huge asset. When you think of Saskatchewan, it’s really the new west. It’s weathered the commodity downturn better than our western neighbours.”
Looking ahead to 2019, Scheer also feels he’s the best contender to go head-to-head against Justin Trudeau, a man Scheer says is all “fluff” and “stuff made for Instagram.”
“I believe I have a personality and a style that can also reach people and resonate with people but also have the substance behind that to earn their trust,” he said.
Scheer also laid out what he believes should be the first, most urgent task for the new leader, win or lose.
“The first job for the leader of the Conservative party is bring everyone back in, heal any rifts that might have developed (during the leadership race) and focusing on the number one job at hand, which is holding this Liberal government to account and offering Canadians an alternative they can get excited about in the next election.”