Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Moments after Andrew Scheer announced Thursday his intention to resign as Conservative party leader, speculation turned to who will replace him.

Two of his prominent rivals in the 2017 leadership contest, Maxime Bernier and Kevin O’Leary, quickly ruled themselves out. As did Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, all leaders of conservative provincial parties.

But there are plenty of others who could yet toss their hats in the ring. And that means the coming race could turn out to be every bit as crowded as 2017, when 13 contenders vied for the Tory crown.

Here’s a look at some of the potential leadership candidates:

— Peter MacKay, the last leader of the Progressive Conservative party before it merged in 2003 with the Canadian Alliance to become today’s Conservative party. He was variously minister of justice, foreign affairs and defence in Stephen Harper’s governments from 2006 to 2015, when he retired from politics. He has been practising law in Toronto since then.

He declined to run for the leadership in 2017 but his name is almost always the first mentioned in speculation about successors to Scheer. MacKay has repeatedly professed to be wholeheartedly supportive of Scheer but he raised eyebrows recently when he said the Conservatives’ failure to defeat Justin Trudeau’s vulnerable Liberals on Oct. 21 ”was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”

— Rona Ambrose, a former Harper-era minister. She filled in as interim leader when Harper resigned after losing the 2015 election and her smart, tough performance was widely credited with keeping the Conservatives in the parliamentary game while the party engaged in a 18-month process to select a new permanent leader.

The Liberals admire Ambrose too. Trudeau tapped her to join an advisory group during tumultuous negotiations with the U.S. and Mexico on an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement. There has been speculation in Liberal circles that Trudeau might appoint her as Canada’s ambassador to Washington.

— James Moore, another former Harper-era cabinet minister. Moore was widely respected and considered future leadership material but chose to not to seek re-election in 2015 due to his young son’s serious health challenges. He has been practising law in Vancouver since then. Moore was also a member of Trudeau’s NAFTA advisory group.

— Brad Wall, former premier of Saskatchewan. He has long been cited as a potential national leader, despite declaring two years ago that he was done with politics.

— Erin O’Toole, former Harper-era minister and MP for the Ontario riding of Durham. O’Toole, considered a moderate, finished third in the 2017 leadership contest.

— Lisa Raitt, former Harper-era minister and Scheer’s one-time deputy leader. Raitt finished eighth in the 2017 leadership race and lost her Milton, Ont., seat in the Oct. 21 election to a star Liberal recruit, Olympian Adam van Koeverden.

— Michael Chong, MP for the Ontario riding of Wellington-Halton Hills. He was briefly a minister in Harper’s first cabinet but quit in protest against a government motion recognizing the Quebecois as a nation within a united Canada. In a departure from Conservative orthodoxy, he supported imposition of a carbon tax during the 2017 leadership contest, in which he finished fifth.

— Pierre Poilievre, former Harper-era minister and Ottawa MP. Poilievre has won a reputation as a hyper-partisan pit bull, someone who is willing to say or do whatever is necessary to score political points or take down an opponent. He has been one of the Conservatives’ most effective communicators.

RELATED: Scheer facing new kind of civil war brewing within the Conservative party (Nov. 1, 2019)

— Brad Trost, former MP. Trost, an ardent pro-lifer, finished fourth in the 2017 contest, largely on the strength of support from social conservatives. He helped determine the outcome of the race by throwing his support to Scheer. He subsequently became embroiled with the party over allegations that his campaign had leaked the party membership list to an outside group and eventually lost a nomination contest that would have entitled him to run for re-election this fall in his Saskatchewan riding.

— Caroline Mulroney, the Ontario government’s transportation minister and daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney. When Patrick Brown abruptly resigned as Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader less than six months before the 2018 Ontario election, Mulroney was pressed to run for leader even though she had no political experience and had not yet been elected to the legislature. She finished third behind Ford and Christine Elliott.

— Any number of sitting MPs could be in the mix, including Michelle Rempel Garner, deputy leader Leona Alleslev, Steven Blaney and Stephanie Kusie.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police Chief Constable Scott Green (right) stands with Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers program coordinators Phil Downie and Gill Millam who received a Crime Stoppers International award for their work in 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Saanich Police Department)
West Shore RCMP say a large dog is in the ownership of CRD Animal Control after it attacked a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Police say dog in ownership of CRD Animal Control

Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan votes at Luxton Hall during advance polls for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
2020 provincial election sets historical low turnout

Just over 1.9 million registered voters cast ballots in 2020

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Most Read