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Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer set to join Conservative leadership race

Conservative MP Andrew Scheer asks a question in the House of Commons in Ottawa on April 11, 2016.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Conservative MP Andrew Scheer is ready to join the race to replace former prime minister Stephen Harper, and is planning a show of force by surrounding himself with caucus colleagues supporting his bid for the job.

"We are going to be highlighting all the caucus support he has," his campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, said Tuesday.

Scheer, a Saskatchewan MP who was Speaker of the House of Commons during the more than four years the Conservatives had a majority government under Harper, plans to launch his campaign Wednesday in Ottawa once he files his paperwork and pays the first $25,000 of his registration fees.

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Some of the "significant" number of Conservative MPs and senators who support his candidacy will be at his side, Marshall said.

Alberta MP Garnett Genuis said he is one of those who will be endorsing Scheer, who he believes possesses all the qualities needed to take on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"He is intelligent, he is perfectly bilingual and he communicates his messages effectively and in a postive way," Genuis said, promising Scheer's ability to bring people together would be apparent in the diverse perspectives of his supporters.

Scheer stepped down as Opposition House leader earlier this month to focus on his efforts to join the race.

Scheer will be the sixth official candidate vying to lead the party, following fellow MPs Maxime Bernier, Michael Chong, Tony Clement, Kellie Leitch and Deepak Obhrai.

Several others have said they intend to run or have otherwise expressed interest in the job, including former Harper cabinet ministers Lisa Raitt, Chris Alexander, Erin O'Toole and Steven Blaney.

Conservatives will elect their new leader next May 27.

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