Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty said there is was shock and disappointment that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced he is stepping down once the party chooses a successor.
“This position takes an incredible toll on our families and you heard me talk about the six weeks of campaigning and how ugly it was and the personal attacks,” Doherty told the Tribune Thursday after Scheer officially announced his resignation. “You can imagine how it has been for Andrew. He’s been in a constant campaign for the last three and half years.”
Doherty said he admired that Scheer was first and foremost a family man.
“The man behind the camera and the name for me that really resonated was that he really invested in his wife and five children and whenever he had the opportunity he was there to pick them up from school he did.”
Scheer’s decision to resign was not made easily, Doherty added.
“For him to take that step and say, ‘I have to put my family first,’ — I’m not sure there are many, given the same situation, would have made that choice. I have to admire that.”
Dustin van Vugt, the executive director of the Conservative party, said Scheer made up his mind to resign after having “long and hard conversations with friends and family” over several weeks, and that he began to let his staff know earlier this week.
He also shed light on how the party had helped Scheer with the cost of moving his family from Regina to Ottawa once he became leader.
“Shortly after Mr. Scheer was elected leader, we had a meeting where I made a standard offer to cover the costs associated with moving his family from Regina to Ottawa,” van Vugt wrote in a statement Thursday.
“This includes a differential in schooling costs between Regina and Ottawa. All proper procedures were followed and signed off on by the appropriate people.”
Scheer was emotional in his seven-minute speech to the House of Commons, interrupted multiple times by applause and standing ovations from his caucus. His wife Jill was in the gallery watching.
He will stay on as MP for the Regina-Qu’Appelle riding.
– With files from Canadian Press