Scheer sees friendly faces at Fredericton town hall

The Federal Conservative party leader took questions from a roomful of supporters in Fredericton Monday night.

Andrew Scheer stopped at the Fredericton Inn on his cross-country town-hall tour as the federal election draws close. The crowd of more than 500 people greeted Scheer with a standing ovation, and clapped after every answer.

Premier Blaine Higgs was in the front row, and received a few shout outs from Scheer throughout the night, including thanking him for joining "the fight against the carbon tax."

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Scheer started the town hall with a short speech in which he reiterated his disapproval of the carbon tax, his support for the Energy East pipeline and his attacks on Justin Trudeau's ethics.

Scheer said his carbon plan would "reduce emissions" but he did not reveal any specifics.

He took unscripted questions from the crowd on topics such as veterans' affairs, mental health waitlists and free trade.

Cannabis and mental health

A man identifying himself as a family doctor asked Scheer what he would do about possible mental health issues brought about by cannabis legalization.

Scheer started his answer by saying Conservatives would not recriminalize cannabis, but would conduct more research to find out the effects.

"What we need I believe is a huge amount of research to track this," he said. "There's no question that this is going to have ramifications so we need a government that's investing and making sure that we have the capacity to do studies." 

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Another person asked Scheer about mental health waitlists, especially in New Brunswick where some people wait months or years to see a mental health professional without paying the expensive fees. She asked in particular what Scheer plans to do to protect transgender people who might be more likely to experience anxiety and depression.

"We need to absolutely have a partnership between federal government, provincial government, local health authorities to start looking at that," he said. "It's no less important than physical challenges someone's facing."

One questioner cited the case of Gerard Comeau, the man who lost a legal battle to move beer across the Quebec-New Brunswick border.

Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC

Scheer said stopping free trade across provincial borders is a mistake.

"I don't believe the federal government should be empowering provincial protectionism," he said, telling people to "stay tuned."

"We're going to have a series of policies that speak to tearing down provincial trade barriers not just because in terms of goods and services but also to allow companies in one province to work in another province."