Andrew Scheer is the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, elected in May 2017 to replace former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In a somewhat surprising victory, he defeated fellow front-runner Maxime Bernier after 13 rounds of balloting with 50.95 percent of the vote. The youngest party leader in Parliament, Scheer has been referred to as a friendlier and more personable Stephen Harper.
Known to hold social conservative views, unlike some of his competitors Scheer avoided putting those issues at the forefront of his campaign, in an effort to reach a broader audience. He is considered pro-life by the Campaign Life Coalition, and has a perfect pro-life voting record in the House of Commons, having also voted against the Medical Assistance in Dying bill. He also spoke out against the naming of doctor and reproductive rights activist Henry Morgentaler to the Order of Canada in 2008. Despite these views, and his early opposition to marriage equality, Scheer has stated he will not attempt to re-open these issues in Parliament.
He has often spoken about the issue of threats to free speech on university campuses, saying he wants to revoke federal funding for any schools which fail to protect free speech. This is a cause which has been taken up by mostly right-wing conservatives, as academics such as Jordan Peterson (who vocally opposes human rights for transgender people) have been met with criticism from progressive students.
He was first elected as MP for Regina–Qu’Appelle in 2004. Before his 2011 election as Speaker of the House, Scheer served as Assistant Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole and as Deputy Speaker to Peter Milliken. Upon his election Scheer became the youngest Speaker in Parliamentary history and the first Speaker representing a Saskatchewan riding. During the 2015 campaign Scheer was vocal in his support for lower taxes, improvements to the health care system and the Keystone and Northern Gateway pipeline projects. After the 2015 election he served as Opposition House Leader before leaving that position to run for the party leadership.
Born in Ottawa, Scheer started a BA in history and politics at the University of Ottawa, working during his studies as a correspondence officer for in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. Scheer left Ottawa to complete his degree at the University of Regina after meeting his future wife.
Before his election, Scheer worked as an insurance agent and then as a constituency assistant for Larry Spencer, the Canadian Alliance MP for Regina–Lumsden–Lake Centre at the time. Scheer and his wife Jill have five children.