Andrew Scheer of the suburbs vs Justin Trudeau and his throngs

The latest Conservative and Liberal videos of their leaders define the contrast, but don’t hint at what’s interesting about their rivalry


The new Conservative ad that shows Andrew Scheer wandering through a suburban idyll—folks perched on freshly painted park benches hailing him, desirable three-bedroom backsplits in the background—gets across a lot in a succinct 30 seconds.

“Conservatives want to see every Canadian prosper,” the Tory leader says, neatly summing up the message “I’m Andrew Scheer” is meant to convey. “So the other guys can take their cues from the cocktail circuits and celebrities. I’ll take mine from the grocery stores and the soccer fields.”

By “other guys,” he means, of course, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ostensibly cocktail-swilling coterie. Unfortunately, poolside video of Trudeau, Gerry Butts and Katie Telford nursing daiquiris and old-fashioneds is hard to come by. More readily available for viewing is “Positive Politics,” the video that’s featured just now at the top of the Liberal YouTube page.

Watching “Positive Politics” immediately after “Hi, I’m Andrew Scheer” brings obviously dissimilar political sales strategies into high definition. Everything about “Hi, I’m Andrew Scheer” is meant to convey normalcy. Everything about “Positive Politics” is meant to project exceptionality.

The suburbanites who greet Scheer as he meanders by are all on a first-name basis with him. They’re glad enough to see him, but not inspired to rise from their benches. A young couple strolls past him without taking any note. Nobody follows or ventures to engage with him.

Trudeau is first shown at a podium engulfed in a delirious crowd of thousands. In the montage mixed with his speech, strangers press close, he clasps their hands, smiles warmly at close range, plays with kids. Just saying “hi” would never suffice.

Two plausible strategies are at work. The bet behind Scheer’s video is that by the time of the 2019 election, a sizeable swath of Canadians will be ready for a reassuring, familiar sort of figure to take over running the country. Trudeau has already won once by promising inspiration and transformation, and there’s no sign that his strategists have talked, over the clink of their ice cubes, of toning that down.

Much of what we’re seeing on screen is just working with the raw materials at hand. Trudeau’s persona is expansive; Scheer comes across as diffident. But their parties’ deep proclivities are also showing through. The Liberal hankering for leaders who embody big aspirations led them also to Michael Ignatieff. The Conservative affinity for no-nonsense restraint found expression in Stephen Harper.

READ MORE: Andrew Scheer learns his job’s no fun

It’s interesting, though, that something about Ignatieff and Harper prompted their handlers to sometimes depict them all alone. In 2009, a Liberal video had Ignatieff addressing the camera in a still, sunlit forest. In 2011, a Conservative ad showed Harper toiling in noirish semi-darkness, companionless in his Hill office, late into the evening.

Those strangely solo depictions were predictably mocked. Yet they drew on something anyone could sense: Ignatieff and Harper each carried around a sort of solitary quality. But Trudeau and Scheer, in their very different ways, both come across as gregarious and approachable.

And there’s something else they have in common, something unhinted-at in their videos. They are both creatures of official Ottawa. Trudeau, as everybody knows, grew up running around the Hill’s hallways as his father’s son. Scheer started working there as a mere teenager for Preston Manning in the late-90s, as the reunite-the-right push gathered steam.

The inside-Ottawa aspect might be the most interesting factor in their nascent rivalry. Trudeau’s politics is bred in the bone; Scheer’s coming-of-age political experience is stamped on him. There is nothing to suggest any of this in the official party videos. Each partisan camp wants to show its leader at large in the country, not ensconced in the capital. Question period, however, is broadcast live and unedited daily.

WATCH MORE: 10 things to know about Andrew Scheer



Andrew Scheer of the suburbs vs Justin Trudeau and his throngs

  1. It is not even election season and this commercial is amazing. And the fact it uses actual scenes as oppose to Andrew Scheer’s recent scripted commercial makes it that much sweeter. I would be surprised if any Canadian regardless of political allegiance doesn’t get excited about the future of Canada watching this. I don’t think Jagmeet or Scheer has a chance against Mr.Trudeau – he has the personality and policy for a leader countries all over the world would kill for in a leader right now and I highly doubt majority of voting Canadians are willing to mess that up.

    • All the MSM writers like Coyne and Wells and the even Sun news all need to take a pill and chill, because their brains are starting to spill over their hatred for Trudeau. Time for a cleaning house of MSM mouthpieces.

      • There are about 10 columns on the left hand column list on National Newswatch.
        As with every day, 8 or 9 are extreme anti Trudeau. Tasha K. of all people is somewhat positive. I assume the Editors find it impossible to find a fair and balanced examination of a federal issue. This ratio of Trudeau hostile versus Trudeau sympathetic or even balanced, say 8 or 9 to 1 is a daily tally.
        I don’t blame the Editors. The MSM as you say, can’t escape their hatred of Trudeau. They became locked in the Harper propaganda on Trudeau, and over two years in can’t shake it and never will. They all think they are better educated, more experienced, more intelligent, with better judgement than the PM.
        Funny how they have pretty much ignored the Duterte dust up. Impossible to put a Trudeau negative spin on it.

        • It’s hard IN CANADA (not so in the U.S.) to get bad press unless you deserve bad press. Trudeau and his band of renown have had one screw up after the other recently. Their most recent being changing their promises progress scorecard from being judged against Trudeau’s campaign promises to being judged against Trudeau’s mandate letters. If you judge against campaign promises per the Trudometer (available on line since day 1), they have broken over 30 campaign promises. Against the mandate letters only 3. It was the campaign promises they were elected on. I have seen no positive press on this slight of hand and rightly so.

        • This is in part because no current party has brought to the table a comprehensive solution to national issues. That we blame Trudeau or elevate Scheer is irrelevant as long as they discuss cosmetic aspects of Canadian politics.

    • LOL, you’re dreaming Steve, in any other media, Jr is vilified and I”m in agreement. A boy running from post to post with a selfie camera. A litany of broken promises and financial incompetence, can’t wait for an election.

  2. I am not a plant guy, but did Sheer do his promo video in some suburb in Florida somewhere, because the plants in the back round look tropical. As long as these two guys are around, Trudeau won’t have too much to worry about..

    • Sheer has the same tempo, tone and rhythm as Harper, if he don’t change his tune, he will be singing in the opposition for years to come.

      • Harper lasted a lot longer than Mr. Selfie will.

  3. Scheer should have been honest…a poster of Rebel Media should be in his ads.

  4. Seriously delusional writing here: “Watching “Positive Politics” immediately after “Hi, I’m Andrew Scheer” brings obviously dissimilar political sales strategies into high definition. Everything about “Hi, I’m Andrew Scheer” is meant to convey normalcy. Everything about “Positive Politics” is meant to project exceptionality.”

    Reality: Sheer is more boring uninspired right-wing shallowness. The Trudeau video is exciting, inspired, passionate. In politics, inspiration always wins over normalcy.

    • The Trudeau video features the most arrogant, narcissistic P.M. in Canadian history. Scheer is a true breath of fresh, honest air.

  5. Although I have nothing against Mr. Scheer, he comes across as a character belonging on Corner Gas. The throngs in the city can’t relate to the impossible dream of owning a home in the burbs. Now, if he stood there and declared that he would work to make sure everyone dreaming of their own home can afford one, that would get my attention. As it stands, every time I voted Conservative, I lived to regret it (and so to my finances). Everytime I voted Liberal, my lot in life improved. Not saying that’s true for everyone, but it’s my truth. Right now, things are pretty good for me since Trudeau became P.M.

    • I was born in an era when I learned to think for myself and outside the box, most people in the last 30 years were brainwashed by “commercialism”- a liberal value !

      BTW, the repercussions of a governing body are felt mostly in the following term when the different or new party is better than half way in, when the PC’s fix what the liberals break, the liberal voter will argue that we need to go back to (breaking stuff; i.e. vote liberal!) {then they start looking good for 1/2 their term, because of the PC’s policies fix most of it!} You Can’t Make this Stuff UP !

      Liberals get in and start running up debt, getting their buddies rich, selling out our country and brainwashing begins again,through our government run tv station!

      I won’t vote for pink-socked midlife crisis spoiled brats !

    • I used to be a Liberal voter until Pierre Trudeau came along and almost ruined Canada. Huge deficits, 18% mortgages, war with the west and arrogance just like his son. The old man was far smarter than Justin, however.

  6. Ah yes. Andrew Scheer a normal person.

    Justin Trudeau – a spoiled rich brat with a huge trust fund who likes to jet around the world to show off his socks.
    Seriously though I wish Mad Max would have won, that would have made for an interesting election.