Andrew Scheer’s final speech as Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Bonsoir tout le monde.

What an incredible three years.

I have been so honoured to serve as Leader of the Party and as Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons, leading our amazing team.

Je suis très honoré d’avoir été chef du Parti et de l’Opposition officielle à la Chambre des communes et diriger notre excellente équipe.

Looking back on where we started in 2017, and all that we have accomplished together, I am struck by the determination, strength and resilience of our party.

In 2017, no one thought we could win the next election.

The media establishment was predicting that Justin Trudeau would easily win two or three majority governments. He would be Prime Minister for as long as he wanted.

But we rolled up our sleeves and reminded Canadians that Conservatives are the only party fighting for hard working Canadians.

The fact that ANYONE even considered the 2019 election winnable – is because of the incredible success of our entire party.

And while we didn’t get the result we all would have liked, we reduced the Trudeau government to a minority and formed the strongest Opposition in Canadian history.

There are so many people I would like to thank.

First off, my House Leadership and my Shadow Cabinet Teams. Merci pour vos conseils et votre soutien pendant mon mandat.

One of the most frustrating parts of not forming government, is stopping to think about what a great group of Ministers we would have had if we had won.

I know that Canadians would have been far better served during this pandemic had there been a Conservative government in power, and I look forward to the many great things that our next Conservative government will accomplish.

J’aimerais aussi remercier Joan Baylis, Hamish Marshall, Kenzie Potter, Marc-André Leclerc et toute l’équipe qui m’ont encouragé à me présenter comme chef et qui sont restés à mes côtés. Ça a parfois été difficile, mais je ne peux pas imaginer un meilleur groupe de personnes pour le faire.

To the OLO and Party HQ teams, thank you for all of your hard work over the past three years and through this leadership race. I know that the new Leader will be in good hands with all of you.

I would also like to thank our entire Conservative caucus, National Council, Party President Scott Lamb, and all of our party members and volunteers. Each of you contribute so much to our movement and are vital to our success.

But most of all I would like to thank my incredible wife Jill for her love and support without which none of this would have been possible.

Jill, thank you for your love and support and for all of the sacrifices you and the kids have made.

I can honestly say that I have never been prouder to be a Conservative or to be a Canadian.

La pandémie nous a mis au défi, mais elle a aussi montré le meilleur côté des Canadiens, partout au pays.

Les voisins s’aidant les uns et les autres, les entreprises trouvant des façons innovatrices de servir leurs clients, et les proches se réunissant pour célébrer des moments importants, même de façon virtuelle.

Pendant cette épreuve, notre équipe conservatrice s’est concentrée sur l’aide aux Canadiens.

We have improved the government’s response to the pandemic and have never backed down in our fight to keep our Parliament open during this crisis.

As we look forward to the recovery, Canadians will be faced with a fundamental choice.

The left is offering the same failed policies they always do – bigger government, more government control, and less individual freedom.

Mais un gouvernement plus gros et plus omniprésent nuit aux gens.

The lie of the left is that the very people they claim they want to help, are hurt the most by their policies. They pretend to be motivated by compassion. But there is nothing compassionate about big government intervention.

Ever increasing intervention in the marketplace rewards big corporations with expensive government relations experts.

New rules and laws make labour costs so expensive that low income workers and new entrants into the workforce lose their jobs first.

And little by little, fundamental rights and freedoms are eroded.

In the 1980’s, the Soviet Block and Eastern European countries all had the same rhetoric – their polices were supposed to help the poor and promote equality – the exact same rhetoric that the left is using today. But all it caused was misery.

Le défi pour les conservateurs aujourd’hui est que beaucoup de gens ne comprennent pas l’économie de libre marché, la liberté individuelle, un gouvernement limité et plus de choix individuels.

Today’s voters didn’t grow up watching the wall come down or looking at the bread lines in East Berlin.

So we need to constantly be looking for new ways to make the case for the core Conservative principles we all believe in: freedom, limited government and unlimited potential.

Our values and ideals have stood the test of time.

For generations, they have guided Canadians through adversity and will once again.

The Liberals are all candy before supper.

They make superficial promises and hope you don’t blame them for the consequences. Then all you are left with is a stomach ache and a serious case of buyer’s remorse.

Conservatives on the other hand believe in a balanced meal, we look at the whole picture.

And we see the harm and the misery that the left’s policies cause.

The Liberals put all of their faith in government.

They believe that bigger government and more state intervention will somehow solve all of the world’s problems.

Conservatives fight for those who don’t have powerful lobbyists getting insider deals.

We fight for the men and women who don’t have well connected friends in Ottawa. Who are too busy raising their families and working hard to attend the cocktail circuit.

We are your voice!

But the biggest risk to freedom and liberty is when people empower government to do more and more for them.

It may be tempting to use the government to address the challenges society faces.

But once invited inside, the government is a terrible house guest.

It may feel good to vote in a party that is going to overstep the limits of government in order to do something you agree with. However, that invitation is quickly used to justify all sorts of actions.

History has shown it is far better to keep government within strictly defined limits and leave the rest of society to fulfill its proper role.

That is why Conservatives put their faith in people.

We know that there is more to society than just government and that free people, within a free market, working hard and enjoying the fruits of their labour, free to express themselves, is the recipe for success every single place its been tried.

When given a choice between societies where governments control more and more of their citizens’ lives, and those where freedom and opportunity are protected, people will always choose freedom.

After all, nobody ever got shot trying to jump the wall into East Berlin or paddled a raft to get to Cuba.

We don’t even have to go back into the past to see these examples. Look at the mess in Venezuela.

Vous savez, c’est aux conservateurs de transmettre ce message.

Pour nous, une élection garantie n’existe pas.

At a time when the establishment elites do everything they can to defeat us.

At a time when dozens of groups like LeadNow and Unifor pay millions of dollars to run ads against us.

At a time when the mainstream media bias in this country has never been more obvious.

At a time when young people are spoon fed leftist propaganda their whole lives, making generations of young Canadians believe that there’s something wrong with free markets and individual liberty.

In times like these, it is even more important for every single Conservative to stay united and do everything we can to work together to spread our message of hope.

So it doesn’t matter what kind of Conservative you are – our party needs all of you and we need you to go out and find more people who share our beliefs.

Please stay involved. Be bold. Think. Challenge the mainstream media. Don’t take the left-wing media narrative as fact. Please check out smart, independent, objective organizations like the Post Millennial, or True North. There are other places to get news. Let’s stop being the silent majority.

Don’t be afraid to challenge leftist profs or public figures. Millions of Canadians share our Conservative values, they just don’t all know it yet.

Left wing Liberal politicians the world over, and here in Canada, are using this pandemic as an excuse to expand the state.

Our challenge, is not to change what we believe in or abandon our principles, but to find new ways to connect with people who have never been taught that it is free market principles that lift people out of poverty, or that the biggest threat to liberty and freedom has always come from big government.

We can and will win the next election.

Quand je suis devenu chef du parti en 2017, nous avions quatre-vingt-dix-neuf sièges.

Today, I am leaving the next leader with 121 amazing MPs from coast to coast.

We won 34.4% of the popular vote in 2019, forming the strongest Opposition in Canadian history, and I’m proud to say tonight that the party is officially debt free.

We are in an excellent position, but we cannot be complacent.

Our party’s unity has been tested in the past and the media love nothing more than writing about disgruntled Conservatives.

We cannot give them that opportunity.

For the last few months, the different candidates and their supporters have been highlighting the differences between them.

After tonight, let us come together and concentrate on the things that unite us. We must work together and focus on the many things we share in common.

Les différences entre les libéraux et les conservateurs n’ont jamais été plus claires.

Ils utilisent une crise pour récompenser leurs amis. Nous nous concentrons sur l’aide aux Canadiens qui travaillent fort.

Where they will use the pandemic as an excuse to reward their friends, Conservatives will clean up their corruption.

Where they will play the politics of envy, we will spread a message of hope and opportunity.

Where they will attack our energy sector, we will champion it and celebrate the prosperity it creates for all Canadians.

Where they will demonize people for having different views on issues facing Canadians, we will not attack people for their deeply held positions but instead look to find common ground.

Alors qu’ils vont diriger une fédération centrée sur Ottawa, nous allons respecter les compétences provinciales et la nation québécoise.

Where they will undermine freedom of speech and limit our ability to profess what we believe and criticize what we oppose, we will protect the right of all Canadians to express themselves.

And when they let Canadians down, as they always do, we will be ready to offer them a Conservative government that puts people first.

And after tonight, let’s all rally behind the new leader, and do everything we can to make sure that the next leader of the Conservative Party becomes the next Prime Minister of this great country.

Thank you so much. Merci beaucoup.

This has been such an honour.