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

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Veteran Henry Kriwokon has his photo taken by the Western as he celebrates his 99th birthday with friends at the Cellar in Downtown Penticton. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

Henry Kriwokon was one of the soldiers in the famous ‘Wait for me, Daddy’ photo

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29 2020. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)
North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swan and eagle numbers

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

Lake Country firefighters helped deliver a healthy newborn baby Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Pixabay)
Lake Country firefighters help deliver baby boy

Firefighters from the Winfield hall assisted with the birth of a healthy newborn Thursday morning

Most Read