Surrey Liberal MPs are paying tribute to Andrew Scheer, who has announced he will resign as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Scheer told the House of Commons on Thursday that he intends to stay on as leader of the Official Opposition and party leader until the Conservatives elect a new leader, and will continue to be the MP for Regina Qu’Appelle.
Scheer was first elected in 2004, at the age of 25.
“In many ways I grew up in this chamber,” he said.
“I felt it was time to put my family first,” he said. “I’ve made this decision because it’s the best thing for our party. Our party needs someone who can give everything they’ve got.”
Sukh Dhaliwal, Liberal MP for Surrey-Newton, said “public service is the most important thing that we do, and as a public servant I want to thank him for his years of service to Canadians.
“I have worked closely with him when he was a deputy speaker, a member of parliament and his role as a speaker and leader of the Official Opposition. He has done a great service to Canadians over many, many years. He was one of the youngest MPs that got elected, and put so much in public service.
“One thing I know about Andrew for sure is we have a difference of opinion when it comes to politics and when it comes to policy,” Dhaliwal added. “I can tell you I have nothing else but to thank him for the great work he has done for Canadians.”
Ken Hardie, Liberal MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, said of Scheer, “When you accept the role that he accepted, you’re opening yourself up for a lot of very challenging situations, where you can be riding high but then you can be trimmed back, you’ll be facing criticism no matter what you do.
“It really does take a special kind of person, and a special kind of family, to deal with this sort of thing. On that basis I think we really have to have a lot of gratitude for Andrew, for Mr. Singh, and for Mr. Trudeau, anybody who kind of steps forward and is willing to take that on because it is not an easy path to take, that’s for sure.”
As for the Conservative Party’s foreseeable future, Hardie said, “This is where you start examining the tea leaves, what the implications are.”
“They have an opportunity to do a reset, but it’s going to be an opportunity that’s full of risk.”
Randeep Sarai, Liberal MP for Surrey Centre, has not yet responded to a request for comment.