Will Andrew Scheer ruin Canada?

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer appears in a drawing by Victor Juhasz for National Observer. Victor Juhasz illustration

Standing in a forest of ash and birch trees about a 45-minute drive southwest of downtown Calgary, the Azuridge Estate Hotel is a luxury resort replete with fountains, waterfalls, gray stone façades and exposed wooden beams. It’s a popular wedding destination.

In a conference room at this verdant retreat on April 11, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer and his campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, were huddling with a group of oil company CEOs along with Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Big Oil’s most powerful lobby group. All of the CEOs present, in fact, are members of CAPP’s board of governors.

One purpose of this meeting? To strategize on how to defeat Justin Trudeau’s government in the federal election this month. The agenda also included discussions about how to silence environmental critics of pipeline projects and the tar sands, including suing them in court.

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer reacts to the Liberal carbon pricing announcement in Ottawa on Oct. 23, 2018. Photo by Alex Tétreault 

Scheer provided the keynote address, while Marshall spoke about “rallying the base” by using friendly interest groups.
To some, this meeting at the Azuridge “gave evidence that, guess what, things haven’t really changed a whole lot,” says Nathan Lemphers, an Ottawa-based campaigner with Oil Change International, an advocacy organization that fights the fossil fuel sector.


“(The Conservatives) are still very cozy with oil industry interests and oil money. We’ve seen what that’s done to Alberta politics and it was no different with federal politics under the Harper government.”

CAPP disputes that the event itself was related to the election. But the fact that Andrew Scheer and his inner circle were scheming with oil industry executives to oust Trudeau comes as no surprise. After all, Scheer is widely acknowledged to be a creature of the house that Stephen Harper built — a party designed to serve the energy sector’s interests at every turn. MORE

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