Scheer confirms abortion strategy in Chatelaine interview

Picture of Conservative leader Andrew Scheer hoisting a glass of beer with reporter Sarah Boesveld that accompanied his interview with Chatelaine.

Picture of Conservative leader Andrew Scheer hoisting a glass of beer with reporter Sarah Boesveld that accompanied his interview with Chatelaine.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer sat down with Chatelaine writer Sarah Boesveld and was asked whether he was a feminist and if he supported, questions the new Tory leader awkwardly avoided answering.

Taking time out of his summer tour to have a beer with the journalist for the women’s magazine at Toronto’s Big Crow BBQ, Scheer talked about being a young political “nerd,” how he met his wife Jill, what he watches on TV when he goes to the gym, and his favourite food, popcorn.

He was asked serious questions, too, including topics the reporter thought her women readers might relate to.

Boesveld said Scheer calls himself pro-life but vowed not to reopen the abortion debate, asking him “why not?” Scheer said “there are a lot of passionately held views on this issue across the spectrum, not just among Conservatives,” that the Tories are the only party “that allows people of different opinions to have a home, to have a conversation,” but as leader “it’s imperative not to divide our own movement, our own caucus,” and thus he would focus on issues “we can all unite around.”

The Chatelaine reporter had a follow-up question: “So your daughters will grow up to be able to make a choice for themselves to do whatever they want with their own bodies?” Scheer responded: “to have a political party be the agent of change on this at this point in time, it’s not the right way to go.” He reiterated focusing on issues that unite the party, not divides it, and suggested raising the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 speaks to him more now that his daughters are growing up.

Boesveld observed that Scheer, unlike Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, doesn’t “believe in beating the woman drum.” The Conservative leader said, “I use my wife as a barometer on this – my wife is one of the most fem…” he began before redirecting, “pro-women, strong …” and being interrupted by Boesveld. She followed up: “you almost said feminist. Are you a feminist?” Scheer replied, “Yeah, absolutely.” Asked for a definition of feminism, he said it was the recognition of “the fundamental equality between men and women.” He vaguely vowed to make “that choice” of “work-life balance” easier.

The story appeared on the magazine’s website July 29.

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