New Canadian Conservative leader supports Supply Management

New Canadian Conservative leader supports Supply Management

Conservatives have a new leader who seems to be supportive of the agricultural community. 

On May 27, Conservatives elected Andrew Scheer, Regina-Qu’Appelle MP, as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Scheer’s electoral lead was somewhat of a surprise, as many expected Maxime Bernier to pull ahead, according to a May 29 CBC article.Although Scheer may not have been the expected winner, he seems to have the support of many producers.

One of these producers is Franck Groeneweg, a grain farmer from Edgeley, Sask. Groeneweg was surprised to see Scheer take the lead but is content with the outcome.

“When we saw it happening from the first ballot to the last ballot, it was a nail-biter till the end,” he told CBC.

Scheer has previously voiced his support for supply management and for abolishing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. Both points tend to be popular among rural voters.

Maxime Bernier – the expected electoral winner – wanted to abolish the supply management system, according to his May 2016 campaign statement.

“I think when it comes to Maxime Bernier, he’s somebody either you like or you don’t like, and it showed, because Andrew Scheer was probably more second and third and 13th choice,” said Groeneweg. “I don’t think (Bernier) realized how much power Quebec dairy farmers have and were able to put behind Andrew Scheer.”

The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) also proclaimed its support for the new leader in a congratulatory post.

“Dairy Farmers of Canada would like to congratulate Andrew Scheer on his win in the Conservative leadership race,” says the DFC post.  “Mr. Scheer was supportive of supply management as a Member of Parliament, and has continued to be supportive throughout this leadership campaign; on behalf of all Canadian dairy farmers – thank you!”

This support from the farming community is likely one of the factors contributing to Scheer’s win, according to Daniel Béland, an expert in public policy with the department of sociology at the University of Saskatchewan.

Scheer is “someone who’s very attentive to needs of farmers and he showed that not only here in Saskatchewan, but also during the leadership campaign when he went to Quebec and he met with dairy farmers and he got the support of many of them, which is why he did so well in Quebec,” Béland told CBC. “I think he has a lot of street cred, as we say, among the farmers in rural communities.”

Coming from Saskatchewan, Scheer will need to spend time earning the support of voters in the larger provinces such as Ontario, according to Béland.

“It’s not easy to become prime minister when you’re based in a smaller province like Saskatchewan, but John Diefenbaker did it,” he told CBC. “So it’s possible and I think Andrew Scheer is hopeful that he can make gains all across the country.”



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