Andrew Scheer’s decision to resign as leader of the federal Conservatives left at least one local constituency association president surprised at the timing.
“I thought that maybe it had been a bit late in coming,” said Ryan Trelford, president of the Saanich-Gulf Islands Conservative Constituency Association.
“I personally was hoping that there wouldn’t be any changes to the leadership, just based on the fact of how big a process it is.”
Trelford said Scheer was the main topic of conversation at the constituency association’s Christmas party this week. “I don’t think I heard anyone in the room saying he should stay on.”
But a leadership race is expensive and can be a waste of resources, Trelford said.
“So I was kind of hoping that he would have changed his personal tack and realized: ‘Oh, I made a lot of mistakes’ and signalled what he’s going to do differently, but he didn’t.”
Trelford said the resignation is the right move, because the Conservative Party is largely different from what Scheer represents. “It’s a lot more interested in business, it’s a lot more interested in people that are LGBT.”
While Scheer did “pretty good work” as leader, “obviously I think he could have had a better performance in this campaign,” Trelford said.
David Busch, who ran as a Conservative in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding in October’s federal election, said Scheer did the “responsible” thing in resigning.
“He went around, chatted with people, came to a conclusion that he didn’t have enough support and did the responsible thing and stepped down rather than forcing the issue.”
Busch called Scheer a “great guy” who would have made a great prime minister, adding he’s looking forward to seeing who the next leader will be.
Richard Caron, Conservative candidate in the Victoria riding in October’s federal election, said Scheer deserves to be acknowledged for what he has done.
“Ultimately I join the Conservatives across the rest of the country in thanking Mr. Scheer for his service,” he said. “Running my first political campaign, seeing the undertaking it was, I can’t even imagine how tough it would be to lead a political party itself and how much of a demanding job it is.”
Caron said the Conservatives will likely hold their April convention as planned, with a leadership vote expected to come at a later date, possibly in the summer.
That would give leadership candidates more time to get prepared, Caron said.
“A leader for the party sooner rather than later would be ideal.”