The federal Conservative leader has set his sights on returning the Kings-Hants riding back to blue.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, PC Member of Parliament for the riding of Regina-Qu’Apelle, visited Windsor Feb. 13 for a quick town-hall style meeting hosted by the Kings-Hants Conservative Association at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 9.
About 120 citizens attended the event, plus more than two dozen various Conservative staffers and volunteers. It was noted numbers were down due to the snowstorm.
Scheer, who visited the provincial Progressive Conservative caucus earlier in the day, addressed a number of issues at the meeting, ranging from relations with China to what the Tories will do for veterans.
On his way to catch a flight, Scheer told the Valley-Journal Advertiser he was optimistic that Martha MacQuarrie, Conservative Party of Canada’s Kings-Hants candidate for the 2019 federal election, will return the riding to its longtime Conservative roots.
“Obviously this seat has a tradition of being Conservative and Scott Brison held it for the last few years so we really believe that this is an opportunity for people to see that it’s the Conservative Party that actually has a vision for Atlantic Canada, that has policies that will speak to making life more affordable, helping people get ahead in this area,” said Scheer. “We’ve got a great candidate so I was always optimistic that we would be able to get this seat back and now I’m even more so.”
Brison officially retired from politics on Feb. 10 after 22 years in the spotlight. The Cheverie born and raised politician was first elected in 1997 under the Conservative banner. He came out as gay in December 2002, and crossed the floor to become a Liberal in 2003. Voters stuck beside him regardless of his political affiliation and returned him to office seven times. He was the country's first openly gay cabinet minister.
In the last federal election, in 2015, the Liberals took all 32 ridings in Atlantic Canada.
Heading into the 2019 election, Scheer says he is optimistic that Canadians will want change. As such, he plans to return to the province to meet with more voters, especially in ridings like Kings-Hants.
“I wish I could come back to Nova Scotia all the time. I truly love it here,” he said, noting that he always tries to visit regions outside of Halifax whenever he’s in the province.
“I can assure you I will be back in Kings-Hants, in some of the different regions within Nova Scotia, several times before the next election,” he said.
The riding of Kings-Hants has long been considered a Conservative riding. Pat Nowlan held the seat from 1968 to 1993. Liberal John Murphy took charge for one term – 1993 to 1997, before Scott Brison was elected that same year. Brison gave up his seat to Joe Clark, the newly elected party leader, in a by-election so that he would have a seat in Parliament. Two months later, Brison was re-elected for the riding (Clark was elected MP for Calgary Centre) and continued to hold the seat until 2003 when he crossed the floor. The riding has been red ever since.
Scheer said he’s hearing voters are hungry for change.
“More and more people are telling me that they feel that the Liberal government is taking their vote for granted and my message to people in this area is that a Conservative government will make sure that Atlantic Canadians have a real voice in government, in Ottawa, making sure that we’re delivering on the needs of people in this region,” he said.
MacQuarrie said she was pleased to have had the party leader make an appearance.
“I think it’s very important for all Canadians across the country to be able to have the ear of the future prime minister so he can listen and hear what the concerns are of the people in Kings-Hants and he can take those back to Ottawa and put some action to those words,” said MacQuarrie, who is running for the party for the first time.
MacQuarrie is quite familiar with campaigning. She began volunteering with the federal and provincial Conservative parties more than 20 years ago.
MacQuarrie said Scheer “is a friend of Atlantic Canada” and while she doesn’t have dates for when he will be back in the region, she said they are always interested in hearing taxpayers’ concerns.
- Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison retiring from politics Feb. 10
- 2019 federal election: Conservative Martha MacQuarrie running in Kings-Hants