Grande Prairie — Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin has ruled himself out of a potential run for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada following the announcement that MP Andrew Scheer plans to step down.
“No, absolutely not,” he stated flatly when asked by MyGrandePrairieNow.com Thursday.
Disappointing results in the federal election have led to weeks of Conservative infighting about whether Regina — Qu’Appelle MP Scheer should have a future as the head of the party. Warkentin says his decision came as a surprise to many in the caucus, but he was made aware of it before it was made public.
“I was one of the people that Andrew spoke to some time ago, just to indicate that he was considering stepping back,” he says. “Obviously his number one concern and priority was making sure the party was in a good position, that we stabilized here, that we were moving forward with our parliamentary responsibilities.”
Reports initially put forward by Global News claim Scheer had been using money from the Conservative Party to pay for his children’s private schooling and did it without the knowledge of the party. Warkentin says those allegations are way off base and had no impact on his decision to announce his resignation.
“Certainly the reporting since has been far more in line with the facts. Obviously there are always rumours in this city, and what I’ve learned is that for every 100 rumours you here, you might find one is true. Much of what was reported was factually incorrect.”
Warkentin stopped short of naming who he expects will throw their hat into the leadership race, but says you never know when it comes to federal politics.
“I suspect there will be those that people might assume will enter, and I expect there may be surprises that enter the race as well.”
Scheer says he will remain the leader of the official opposition under his replacement is named.