With the 2019 federal election just around the corner, we can expect to see more intense campaigning from candidates in the coming weeks. Andrew Scheer has been observed to build a public image of himself that suggests humble beginnings and modest ways of living. Stories of his formative years that he retells in speeches always remind audiences that his parents struggled to make ends meet. However, Andrew Scheer’s net worth is something that Canadians have always wondered about, especially after it was reported in 2017 that Scheer had stakes in three real estate limited partnerships.
According to Scheer in his anecdotes, his family had to take the bus everywhere because they didn’t have a car, his father had to borrow money from a friend to hold down their mortgage, and his parents were always stressed at the dinner table from figuring out how to make ends meet. People have noticed this as a tactic against Justin Trudeau, who had reportedly inherited a cool $1.2 million from his father, former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Maclean’s found that Scheer’s parents could have been earning more than the average Canadian family in 2003, which Statistics Canada placed at $68,800. Jim Scheer worked as a proofreader, researcher, and librarian for the Ottawa Citizen until 2008 and would have been earning at least $66,000 when he retired. Mary Scheer had a career as a nurse at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and was probably earning about $55,000 in the late 1990s.
In an interview, Scheer has said that he frames the previous anecdotes about his family in the context of "having a good life." "We were able to have nice things and enjoyable moments. But it’s just a different experience from Justin Trudeau."
Whatever the context in the past, today, Scheer’s own brood is living comfortably. According to Maclean's, he was earning $141,000 as an MP at the age of 25. As of 2019, his salary as the official Opposition leader comes to $259,000. His actual net worth could have been alluded to following accusations of hypocrisy after he targeted Finance Minister Bill Morneau for holding investments in a numbered company. Scheer was found to have ownership stakes in three real estate limited partnerships (RELPs), a tax-sheltering investment vehicle that is apparently only available to the rich. RELPs allow investors to write off up to 50 percent of their initial investment.
Scheer’s office confirmed with CBC News in 2017 that he only qualified as an "eligible investor" in Saskatchewan for these RELPs. To participate, he had to show $75,000 in personal annual income and a net worth of $400,000 or more.
While that might not seem like much compared to Trudeau’s inheritance, one Twitter user at the time painted Scheer as a "taxpayer funded trust fund baby who uses RELPS to dodge taxes." Another user said that Morneau gives to charity after selling stocks while Scheer points fingers at others even though he participates in RELPs himself. Other Twitter users shared similar sentiments.
Canadians will be voting for their next leader on Oct. 21. Before that, you can catch Andrew Scheer at the Munk Debates on Oct. 1.