Andrew Scheer rarely misses a chance to remind voters he didn’t experience anything like the glamorous upbringing of a certain other federal politician. “We didn’t have a lot of money,” the Conservative leader said in a typical section of a speech to his party’s convention in Halifax last summer. Then Scheer added, as he often does, what seems to be his favourite telling detail: “We didn’t have a car, so we had to take the bus everywhere we went.”
In a speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto in 2017, Scheer told of how, when interest rates spiked in the early 1980s, his father had to swallow his pride to hold onto the family home. “It’s not easy,” he said, “to go to a friend to ask for money to pay down the mortgage so that you can stay in the house.” He also described his parents’ response when, as an 18-year-old, he was accepted into the University of Ottawa. “They said I could live at home for free, and that was their contribution to my post-secondary education,” he said.