Andrew Scheer is keeping Chris Warkentin around. The new leader of the federal Conservative Party has asked Warkentin to stay on as Deputy House Leader for the official opposition.
“Chris is a champion for Albertans and has done an excellent job holding the Liberal government to account in the house. I think it’s fair to say that his performance in managing our question period team speaks for itself.”
Warkentin was given the promotion in September 2016 and is responsible for helping the leader and the Conservatives in question period, as well as working with the Shadow Cabinet. He considers it a vote of confidence from the leader, and believes the work he did in the fall and spring has been recognized.
“I have been developing a reputation here in Ottawa over the last number of months as being the nightmare for Justin Trudeau. Obviously, he’s been giving us a lot of material to work with; he’s been making poor decisions and decisions that really anger Canadians from coast to coast.”
He says he plans to continue holding the prime minister to account, using whatever measures necessary. The Grande Prairie – Mackenzie MP says he’ll also be serving as the senior Alberta member in the leadership team, a role formerly held by his mentor Rona Ambrose.
“It’s an important new distinction… I will be responsible to carry the Alberta voice forward in the strategy meetings and the meetings that we have with the leader and making sure that the perspective from Alberta and the folks that live in our province are brought forward at the Shadow Cabinet table.”
Moving forward, Warkentin plans to play a big role in improving his party’s success in the next federal election. He says that requires members to have “proactive and solution-based rhetoric” that will provide an alternative to the current government.
“There’s only one way that Canadians will decide that they want to change their government and that’s if they believe there’s somebody else that is waiting in the wings that actually has the capacity to govern. What they are not looking for is simply members of the opposition to be protesters.
Warkentin says he’s looking forward to spending more time in his riding over the rest of the summer, hearing from constituents before he returns to Ottawa in the fall.