Nothing Man: Andrew Scheer’s Long Con of Canadians
Andrew Scheer has spent his adult life cultivating blandness.
His bearing and manner are totally unremarkable. Nearly everything he says is forgettable. His carefully constructed “everyman” persona appears designed to make him objectionable to as few people as possible.
Nobody has ever been enthusiastic about Andrew Scheer. He was not his party’s first choice for Leader, only emerging as a compromise candidate because that was an outcome everyone else could live with.
Even his campaign for the highest office in the country has been relentlessly dull. The only subject matter Scheer is willing to discuss is what could be described as bookkeeping matters — a minor tax credit here, a slight adjustment to lending rules there.
Not even Scheer’s “scandals” are all that interesting. Apparently he passed himself off as an insurance salesman, of all things, without the proper credentials. The horror!
At a certain point, one has to wonder: why is this man so absolutely committed to boring all of us?
As with most things that politicians do, the only reasonable conclusion is that it’s a strategy, the purpose of which is to conceal the fact that Andrew Scheer is a radical.
He is one of the few remaining national politicians in this country who refuses to publicly endorse a woman’s to choose and gay marriage. When pressed on these matters, he obfuscates as much as possible. The most generous read of his statements suggest he would tolerate settled law. A perhaps more realistic interpretation is that he would happily re-open these fights, but leave it to his underlings in caucus to do the heavy lifting.
On the most pressing crisis of our time — climate change — Scheer’s actual policies most closely match those of Donald Trump. Both men would allow industry to continue polluting without limit. Scheer’s plan would see emissions increase over the next decade, when all the science tells us that we need to dramatically reduce emissions if we’re going to stave off catastrophe. Of course, Scheer — per his strategy of concealment — cannot say these things publicly, but that’s the fact of the matter. He sees the reports of existential danger, and says “I’ll have more of that, please” — what else could we call this except radical (and mad)?
On energy, Scheer plans to override regional concerns to build a “national corridor” for new fossil fuel infrastructure — a super pipeline, in other words, that will allow industry to run roughshod over local governments.
In a country which can only grow through immigration, he has made a sport of demonizing refugees and committed to admitting fewer immigrants.
The company Scheer keeps also hint at his true ideological leanings. He was a regular guest on the far-right Rebel Media, giving interviews to white nationalist Faith Goldy. He is happy to join Yellow Vest protests (though refuses to march in Pride Parades or the Climate Strike). His campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, was a director of Rebel Media in its early days. The man runs in radical circles.
Scheer’s dull presentation belies the fact of the matter, which is that his actual views are quite extreme and, more importantly, unpopular. He is out of step with most Canadians in ways that are politically untenable, and yet he is now asking for their vote.
The resolution of this puzzle for Scheer has been the deliberate constrution of a Nothing Man facade around his radical right-wing politics. Like all good con men, he presents as blandly pleasant and utterly forgettable — a safe option who won’t rock the boat.
All the evidence points to this being untrue. What it tells us is that Andrew Scheer is in the final stages of a long con in which Canadian voters are the mark. Can an extremist be smuggled into power, passing himself off as ordinary, just by being incredibly boring? That appears to be the bet the Conservatives are making. We’ll soon find out if it pays off.