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

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

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Interior Health hospitals not strained by rising COVID case counts

While provincial hospitalizations rise, health care systems in the B.C. Interior remain robust, say officials

School District 20 is advising the public there has been a positive case of COVID-19 at the Trail high school. Photo: Trail Times
District confirms positive COVID case at Trail high school

The person is at home self-isolating, administration advised on Wednesday

Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson will advise Premier John Horgan in youth issues and needs. Photo: Submitted
Nelson-Creston MLA named premier’s special advisor on youth

Brittny Anderson is the youngest member of the B.C. legislature

COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the Kootenays. Illustration: BC Centre for Disease Control
Highest weekly number of new COVID-19 cases in 2021 for Nelson

The Nelson local health area had 13 new cases in early April

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

Most Read