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This article was published 30/8/2018 (755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A week after his party was jolted by the defection of high-profile Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer arrived in Winnipeg Thursday for a two-day visit to show the flag and begin rallying the troops for next year's federal election.
"I'm here to do events, to meet with people. We're here to talk about crime. We're here to support nominated candidates, to help get ready for the next election," Scheer told a press conference at a downtown hotel.
His staff say Scheer is pushing forward with the Conservatives' positive vision for the future in the wake of last week's bombshell development, in which Bernier left the party, calling it "intellectually and morally corrupt" and announcing plans to form a new group.
At a 10-minute news conference, called ostensibly to react to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion ruling, Scheer steered clear of addressing party unity when given the opportunity.
He will spend part of the visit consulting community members about crime prevention. He will also meet members of the aerospace industry and the business community. As well, he has scheduled time with Premier Brian Pallister, his staff say.
Scheer made a point of expressing his deepest sympathies for the Manitoba Mountie who was wounded in a shooting near Onanole Wednesday evening. "My thoughts and prayers are with this individual," he said.
The Conservative leader defended his recent harsh criticism of the Trudeau government's handling of the trade talks with the United States and Mexico.
Scheer tweeted earlier this week that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "failure on NAFTA has left Canada out in the cold and put thousands of jobs at risk.... It's time for the grown-ups to be in charge again."
That contrasted with the more Team Canada approach of former Conservative foreign minister John Baird, who recently tweeted that Canada's negotiators are "competent and highly trained," and he wished Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her team luck in the latest round of talks.
Scheer said the Conservatives have supported the government's efforts to maintain and protect NAFTA, promoting the trade deal in Washington.
"Conservatives will always do our very best to help the government," he said.
Scheer said he has struck a balance between holding the government to account while promoting the benefits of the trade deal.
"Here we have a situation where we are perhaps days away from understanding the level of agreement that has (been reached) between Mexico and the United States without Canada's participation," he said. "Clearly, that's not an optimal situation. Justin Trudeau has to explain how this has happened."
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.
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