Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola Conservative MP Dan Albas says he supports new party leader Andrew Scheer.—Image credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

MP pledges support for new Conservative leader

Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas didn’t back Andrew Scheer but says he’ll support him now.

Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas may have backed the wrong horse in the Conservative Party leadership race but that’s not stopping him from pledging his support for the winner, Andrew Scheer.

“(Scheer) will face a number of new challenges and I know he will have the full support of our parliamentary caucus—including myself—to hold the (Liberal) government to account,” wrote Albas on his Facebook page over the weekend.

On Saturday, Scheer won the Conservative leadership on the 13th ballot, edging out former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier, who Albas supported.

His victory was a surprise to many, as Bernier was expected to win, especially after high-profile businessman and television personality Kevin O’Leary dropped out of the race last month and threw his support behind Bernier.

Albas served as Bernier’s B.C. campaign co-chairman during the long leadership campaign, which saw 14 names on the ballot.

In his Facebook post, Albas said Scheer has a great deal of parliamentary experience, a nod to the fact Scheer was elected speaker of the House of Commons during Stephen Harper’s time as party leader and prime minister.

Scheer succeeds Harper, who quit following the Conservatives’ loss to the Liberals in the 2015 election. Rona Ambrose has led the party on an interim basis since then.

Albas described the 39-year-old Scheer as a young dad who understands the challenges of raising a family while trying to build a country his kids can inherit and thrive in, just like their parents have done.

The seemingly affable Scheer has been described as a “social conservative” and “Harper with smile,” a man who believes the party lost in 2015 not because of its policies but because of how those policies were presented.