OTTAWA — How Andrew Scheer announced his resignation as leader of the Conservative party in the House of Commons on Dec. 12, 2019:

Mr. Speaker, I was elected to this House in 2004, at the ripe old age of 25. In many ways, I grew up in this chamber, but some might say I have not yet grown up. I was barely out of university, newly married and with our first child on the way. Since then, I have had five beautiful children. My first-born is now 14. He is all arms and legs. I think he is going to be taller than me very soon.

I have logged many hours flying back and forth from Regina to Ottawa and all across this wonderful country. Alongside my friends in the Conservative caucus, we have accomplished a lot on both the government and opposition sides of the benches. Most importantly, we have kept our party united and strong.

That is why I felt it was appropriate to speak to my friends and colleagues today in the House of Commons about one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I have just informed my colleagues in the Conservative caucus that I will be resigning as the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

I will be asking the Conservative party national council to immediately begin the process of organizing a leadership election. As our party embarks on this exciting opportunity of electing a new Conservative leader and Canada’s next prime minister, I intend to stay on as leader of the party and the official opposition.

Serving as the leader of the party that I love so much has been the opportunity and challenge of a lifetime. This was not a decision I came to lightly. It was one I came to after many long, hard conversations with friends and family over the past two months since the election campaign.

It has been an incredible challenge for our family to keep up with the pace that is required to lead a caucus and a party into a general election, and my wife Jill has been absolutely heroic. However, in order to chart the course ahead, this party and this movement need someone who can give 100 per cent to the effort. After some conversations with my kids and loved ones, I felt it was time to put my family first.

Our Conservative team is always stronger when we are united. When fiscal conservatives, Red Tories, social conservatives, libertarians, Quebec nationalists and Conservatives in rural and urban Canada in the east and west come together, great things happen. We elect strong Conservative governments that deliver lower taxes, smaller governments, more freedom and stronger human rights. The party we have all built together is far more important for one individual.

Our party is not a cult of personality. It is not shaped by whoever’s name is on the masthead, but by the hundreds of thousands of Conservatives who pound in lawn signs, sit on their riding associations and donate a few dollars every month.

As our party begins to embark on this exciting opportunity of electing a new leader, my only ask to my fellow Conservatives is this: Let us stay united. Let us stay focused on our one shared goal and one shared priority, which is to deliver a strong Conservative government that can unite our country and make life better for all Canadians, for the oilworker out of a job, for the senior who is choosing between heating and eating and for Canada’s position on the world stage.

I believe in this party, I believe in our movement and I believe that we will be a government after the election. I became involved as a teen because I love this party. I ran because I love this party, and I ran for leader because I wanted to help this party.

I will continue to serve my Conservative caucus, and I will continue to serve the great people in the fantastic riding of Regina-Qu’Appelle.

I am proud of what we have accomplished during my time as leader. We kept our party united and strong, we knocked the Liberals down to a minority and we increased seats all over this country. Whoever the hundreds of thousands of Conservatives across the country choose to lead our party into the next election will have my 100 per cent support.

My message to the prime minister and the Liberals in this House is this: During this leadership election there will be no free rides in the House of Commons. We have already hit the ground running. We had a 1,000 per cent batting average for a brief period of time on Tuesday evening. We might see if we can increase that batting average. However, we are going to continue to be here every single day to represent our constituents, perform our duties as parliamentarians and to put Canadians and Canada first.

I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for indulging me in this statement. I want to thank my colleagues in the Conservative party.

Merci beaucoup.

Ce fut l’honneur de ma vie professionnelle d’etre le chef du Parti conservateur. Je remercie tous mes collegues de leur appui et de leur confiance au cours des trois dernieres annees. J’ai pris cette decision, car elle est la meilleure pour notre parti.

I have made this decision because it is the best thing for our party. Our party needs someone who can give everything they have. I have always been honest with my colleagues, I have always been honest with everybody, and I know that the road ahead and the stress that would put on my family would mean I could not give them that 100 per cent assurance. I know the next person will and I know I can speak on behalf of all our team that the next leader of this party will have the support required from these benches to make sure we are successful in the next election.

The Canadian Press

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