The recent resignation of Conservative leader Andrew Scheer highlights some interesting differences between the two leaders — Scheer himself and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Maybe I’m alone in this but I was a bit shocked to hear about Andrew Scheer’s resignation.
Official statements have all been about the positives, that the Conservatives won the popular vote and weakened the Liberal’s ability to make arbitrary decisions by taking away their majority. It seems only now, after he’s resigned, that we’re hearing of party in-fighting that was supposedly happening in the weeks following the election.
At this time, when an early election is being predicted, and Alberta and Saskatchewan were painted blue, the party should be rallying to gain strength and build momentum, not giving up.
Scheer, as a relatively unknown personality, did lack the so-called celebrity power his Liberal counterpart enjoys, but voters took a chance on him anyways. Voters deserved better.
I can sympathize with wanting to prioritize family, but that explanation doesn’t completely make sense. He knew the level of commitment it would take going in. The only thing that has changed is that he didn’t become Prime Minister, so it seems he decided that without that payoff, remaining as leader wasn’t worth the cost to his family.
As Prime Minister I don’t think the time demands would have been any less, so would he have resigned if his party had won a majority government? See, the explanation doesn’t quite track.
The timing of the resignation sends a bad message too. It was less than 24 hours after the information of the party’s agreement to pay to send Scheer’s children to a private Ottawa Catholic school got out that Scheer informed his caucus he was stepping down.
You know what makes you look guilty? Quitting at the first hint of possible scandal instead of standing your ground.
For goodness sake, Trudeau didn’t let the SNC Lavalin scandal shut him down, and although that behaviour is disturbingly, characteristically sociopathic, you also have to admit some grudging admiration for the guy for his tenacious commitment to denying reality.
Scheer resigning now, whatever his reasons, just looks like giving up because it got too hard, and it should be disappointing for Conservative voters. Scheer should have stayed on and used the time until the next election to build on his record to have a stronger position and gain the party more seats in the next round.
Changing leaders now isn’t likely to strengthen the party and voter confidence. It’s more likely to cause chaos and disarray and destroy any hopes of the Conservatives gaining ground in the next election.
Unless the Tories can somehow produce a unifying leader to rally behind like the Arthur Pendragon of legend, I don’t see this as being a positive move for the party.
There is something to be said about Scheer though — he’s not a narcissist.
It takes self reflection, wisdom and humility to step down if you don’t feel you can do a job. Or perhaps just a lack of self-confidence.
Whether or not the resignation had anything to do with school tuition, resigning in the face of controversy is the normal, status-quo thing to do nowadays.
On the one side of the spectrum, it would seem we have Scheer, who arguably has a realistic view of himself, and quits when he feels it’s in the best interest of his family, and we may infer he believed, in the best interests of the country.
On the other side we have Trudeau, who has faced scandal after scandal and has been found guilty by the ethics commissioner, who seemingly unabashedly carries on.
The amount of ego that takes, to, despite all evidence of the country, feel himself justified and worthy to stand as the leader of this country, is astounding.
Many interesting comparisons between the two men come to mind, and none of them are flattering (think of the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz, etc.).
I thoroughly enjoyed reading, some years ago, Will Ferguson’s Bastards and Boneheads: Canada’s Glorious Leaders Past and Present, in which Ferguson categorized each Prime Minister as either a bastard or bonehead. I’ll let you decide which is which in this case.
Now I’ve made a lot of assumptions here: on the inner thoughts and feelings of the two leaders; on their intentions and motivations. These are just speculations, but consider this:
The Mayo Clinic defines narcissistic personality disorder as a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for excessive attention and admiration.
One definition of sociopath lists symptoms including glibness and superficial charm, lack of remorse, shame or guilt, and a grandiose sense of self.
Just think about it. I know which leader I would prefer to have.