Andrew Scheer glowers at the Man Who Wasn't There - 2019-09-13
More than two years after Andrew Scheer became leader of Canada's Official Opposition, polling suggests nearly one-third of Canadians still don't know the man—or at least, don't know enough to get a measure of him. This campaign serves as a pivotal, 40-day introduction to the Conservative leader for Canadians unsure whether he should be the next Prime Minster, and the Maclean's/Citytv debate was his chance to make that crucial first impression.
Scheer did some work to dispel the snarky dismissal the Liberals have long cast upon him: that he's just Stephen Harper with a dimpled smile. Throughout this debate, Scheer seemed at pains to avoid smiling. He waited his turns to speak with eyebrows alternating between arched and furrowed, and a studious earnestness that kept the edges of his lips from curving upward yet did not forestall the occasional glower.
After all, he felt a great disappointment which voters must know he could not hide: at Justin Trudeau for not showing up to the debate; at Trudeau for violating ethics rules, for taxing carbon, for dressing like a fool in India. Scheer's quarrel is not with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh or Green Leader Elizabeth May—in fact, his hopes for a Conservative majority rest on the two left-leaning parties carving heavily into the Liberal vote share. So he came in with a mission to turn his sights toward the man who wasn't there. He'd pause with relish when deploying the seemingly scripted refrain: "something Justin Trudeau… FAILED to do."