Opposition Conservatives gather to plot strategy for Commons' return
OTTAWA -- Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer gathers his MPs and senators around him today to plot strategy for Parliament's return on Monday.
The caucus retreat comes at a time when many Tories are plotting their own strategies for how best to replace Scheer.
At least three sitting Conservative MPs are launching leadership campaigns, and another former MP, Peter MacKay is snapping up support from many others.
But Scheer is expected to remain leader of the party until the members choose a new boss on June 27, and he must now set the course for the Opposition's priorities in the minority Parliament.
He's expected to tell his caucus today that despite the leadership race, they must remain united and focused on their elected task of holding the government to account.
They'll also have to decide whether to work with the government, and it's possible that the Liberals' first item on the agenda -- ratifying the new NAFTA -- will be an early opportunity to prop them up.
But another issue on the Liberals' wish-list -- a promised ban on military-style assault rifles -- is far less likely to pass muster with the Tories.
The Conservative caucus meeting follows a week of major developments in the leadership race: former Quebec premier Jean Charest, former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose and current MP Pierre Poilievre -- all potential front runners -- decided they won't launch bids.
MacKay will formally unveil his campaign on Saturday, while current MP Erin O'Toole is also expected to launch his in the coming days.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020.