Andrew Scheer: Big Oil's secret weapon - 2019-10-17
Over a meal of roasted caribou, Andrew Scheer and Rich Kruger ate and talked, heads close together, discussing energy policy. It was the evening of May 15th at the Politics and Pen black tie dinner held in a ballroom of the Fairmont Château Laurier, the swanky landmark hotel in downtown Ottawa – a regal pile on Rideau Street, a stone's throw from Parliament Hill.
It was no accident Conservative Party leader Scheer and Kruger, a former ExxonMobil executive and current CEO and chairman of Imperial Oil Ltd., were sitting beside one another: 48 hours before the gala got underway – which annually attracts 500 of Canada's political, business and cultural elite to raise money for writers – Scheer was moved to Kruger's table. Scheer's wife Jill, as it turns out, was on the event's organizing committee (Scheer later told the National Observer he didn't know he would be sitting at Kruger's table).
The tête-à-tête between Scheer and Kruger was one of many instances this year where the Tory leader and the people who run Canada's oil industry socialized – and even conspired together. The previous month, Scheer and his campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, holed up in a resort on the outskirts of Calgary with a group of energy sector CEOs and the president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Big Oil's most powerful lobby group, to plot the demise of the Trudeau government, among other discussions.