Scheer Quits as Tory Leader After Failing to Defeat Trudeau

(Bloomberg) -- Justin Trudeau’s main rival is stepping down as Conservative Party leader after failing to unseat the Canadian prime minister in October’s election.

Andrew Scheer, 40, called a special caucus meeting Thursday morning in Ottawa, where he informed lawmakers of his decision to resign. He later confirmed his departure in a speech to the House of Commons.

“I made this decision because it’s the best thing for our party,” Scheer said, before receiving a standing ovation in the legislature.

The move likely makes it easier for Trudeau to push his agenda through a fragmented parliament. Though eager to unseat the Liberals, the Conservatives won’t want to fight another election until they’ve selected a new leader.

Scheer Quits as Tory Leader After Failing to Defeat Trudeau

A career politician and former House speaker, Scheer was a compromise candidate to take the reins of Canada’s main opposition party in 2017 after the departure of Stephen Harper, who governed for nearly a decade as prime minister until his defeat to Trudeau in 2015.

Scheer’s attempt to frame this fall’s vote as a national referendum on Trudeau was unsuccessful, despite a string of scandals and fatigue over the incumbent leader’s perceived penchant for style over substance.

While the Conservatives reduced Trudeau’s Liberal Party to a minority and won the popular vote, they secured only 121 seats in the legislature, compared with 157 for the Liberals. That’s allowed the prime minister to govern with the support of other opposition parties.

Scheer said he will remain a member of parliament for his Saskatchewan district, and stay on as leader until a new one is chosen.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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