Why is Andrew Scheer breaking his promise to parents who send their children to religious schools?

By Jonathon Van Maren

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has clearly been getting some very bad advice lately. Although he holds many socially conservative values himself, it appears that the voters that Scheer is most willing to shove off the platform after a bit of Liberal criticism is social conservatives. From iPolitics:

The federal Conservative platform for the 2019 election will not include a tax deduction for parents who send their kids to private and independent schools, iPolitics has learned. A spokesperson for Andrew Scheer confirmed in an email statement that the Tory leader would not move ahead with the tax credit because of the large budget deficits recorded by the Trudeau government in recent years.

“As a result of Trudeau’s budget mess, Mr. Scheer will not move ahead with the tax credit for independent schools at this time,” Daniel Schow told iPolitics.

During the 2017 leadership campaign, Scheer promised to offer a $4,000 income tax deduction for parents who send their kids to private schools. In recent weeks, the Liberals and other critics have raised the plan in warning against voting for the Tories, arguing the tax credit would cost billions of dollars per year and was an unnecessary subsidy to already wealthy parents.

Andrew Scheer courted social conservatives during the leadership race, and he needs their support in swing ridings across the country if he wants to become prime minister—especially with Maxime Bernier’s PPC candidates taking advantage of the fact that Scheer’s inner circle seems determined to ignore social conservatives and their concerns. Social conservatives supported Andrew Scheer because they were convinced that he genuinely shared many of their concerns—after all, he sends his own children to a Christian school. With this new move, however, it appears that Scheer’s team is establishing a very dangerous pattern: Throwing his own supporters under the bus due to Liberal pressure.

Scheer may have won the leadership, but he hasn’t won the PMO yet. If he wants to get there, he is going to need social conservatives to turn up and vote. After a decade of disappointment with Stephen Harper and other leaders who wanted them in the tent but off the platform, many social conservatives have told me that Scheer’s willingness to abandon his own campaign promises to them are making them consider staying home come election day. Trudeau certainly isn’t getting their vote—but it isn’t a sure thing that Scheer is going to at this point, either.

Take a moment this weekend to call or email your local Conservative candidate and let them know what you think about this latest broken promise. If Scheer and his advisors don’t hear from us, they might remain unaware of the electoral consequences of their actions.

12 thoughts on “Why is Andrew Scheer breaking his promise to parents who send their children to religious schools?

  1. FRANCIS J. Barrett says:

    My option as a so-called so-Conservative is we should give Sheer a chance
    we have to get him in as Prime Minister before he can action anything
    Running him down is just a Plus for the Liberals
    United we stand divided we fall

    • Albert Kuyerhuis says:

      As a decades-long contributor to Christian education, this news blurb is rather disappointing. In addition to Jonathon’s comments I do want to add a word of word of caution too. Note how this news was relayed. It came via a news source which may have dropped some context in posting this story. It makes sense to proponents of smaller government to allow citizens and groups of them take on responsibilities the state assumed, such as education, but which it has badly bumbled. (New schools look like palaces today but educational outcomes leave to be desired.) I do support the tax credit concept but also support fiscal prudence.

      • Ave Bella says:

        I’m a product of a separate school system, and my taxes are designated to support those schools. I have never seen a tax credit for doing so, just like if I supported public schools. There is some very crucial information missing from this article, as it appears to lump all non-public educational options together, with no discernment between what educational streams are actually being affected. It is simply passing on incomplete information without assisting the reader to know what is being discussed or addressed.
        Is this what passes as news reporting?

    • Sam says:

      And that is why the tax deduction policy is dropped. He has your vote anyways, and now needs the soft centrist vote – he is appealing to those voters, not social conservatives anymore.

      There is a fairly clear pattern of Conservative leaders using the social conservatives to obtain party leadership positions, then abandoning the social conservatives in the general election.

  2. Tracey Sparrowhawk says:

    The true conservative alternative is the PPC. Scheer has shown that he does not want pro-life and pro-family people in his centrist party. He is willing to abandon principles every time the Liberals look at him cross-eyed. He doesn’t stand for anything. I am running against him in the election, representing the PPC because of his weak leadership…so tell your audience that there is an alternative this election!

    • Patricia Vetter says:

      First we have to get rid of Trudeau and pay down some of the huge debt he has created for our kids and grandkids. Scheer will do the right things for our country but as usual people vote them out because they can’t see the big picture. Conservatives inherit liberal debt , try to pay it down by not spending like the drunken sailors before them. People have no patience to wait for the benefits a balanced budget and debt free country offers and stupidly vote the big spenders in again every time! Vicious circle !!

  3. Alx says:

    Us social conservatives are 20% of the population, at best. Sheer needs 37% to beat Trudeau rising in polling numbers to 36%. Do the math… We aren’t enough. If we were smart, we would know Scheer is a social conservative expanding the tent in order to win. Why isn’t it obvious to people?
    A vote for Bernier is a vote for Trudeau. I can’t stand his racist undertones in any case. He’s another ideologue, but on the right, except for his acceptance of the LGBT movement as he ignores their not-so-hidden totalitarian moral agenda which is the most dangerous aspect of Trudeau.

  4. Jeff says:

    The cost of 12k to 20k for private school is lots. Some people I talked with a tithe to their kid’s education so it’s Christian based. Some clearly can afford it and some grandparents pay. They do get to declare a large portion on income tax charitable donation. So really this is good that Andrew is doing this. I don’t want to pay for those tax breaks when they can send their children to regular school and raise them in the Lord at home themselves. Personal choice!

  5. Stephen Miechkota says:

    Vote for Bernier; he’s head and shoulder above Sheer and of course Trudeau. It’s the best chance we have to out Canada back.

  6. Rick McCready says:

    His decision on this was politically motivated, but it was the right thing to do. Most Canadians send their kids to public schools, and that’s where public resources should go.

  7. Mark Sutherland says:

    It’s hard to know who to support. Every party is in it for opportunism. I feel the same about the Christian Heritage Party, who align most closely to my values, but who are never really in it to win, but to provide an outlet for a protest vote. This is not the purpose of running for Parliament.

    The problem with Max and the PPC is that I am sure he is in it for reasons of personal gratification, and if he was actually poised to win, he would pander to leftist causes, just as he did in his marching in gay pride parades. I feel my vote will go towards Laura Lynn Thompson, regardless, if only because they seem to be only party even attempting to stand for truth.

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