At the city hall event in Toronto on Saturday night, Mark Walsh explained to Andrew Scheer that climate change is an important issue, and it is not enough for the Conservative Party to only oppose policies such as carbon taxes.
"To say there is no carbon tax, what we will not do. What will we do? We need positive messages out there," said Walsh, a Conservative supporter, who lives in northern Toronto.
Walsh is part of a crowd of hundreds of friends who dare to face snowy and very cold streets to hear Scheer answer unscripted questions about various problems.
The program is open to the public, although most participants appear to be Conservative supporters who have received e-mails about the town hall. Thornhill Parliament Member Peter Kent told the crowd that 1,200 had registered for the event, although the actual number was less than half.
Scheer does not face the same elements of hostility or random hecklers that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dealt with at the town hall.
But some members of the audience challenged the leader to provide details about party platforms ahead of the federal election later this year. The program also revealed some of the challenges – and opportunities – that Scheer might face attracting different demographics and interest groups.
Some of the topics raised on Saturday night are not related to typical Conservative talking points. For example, he was asked several questions about party environmental policy.
Scheer once again shot a carbon tax, saying it was not an environmental plan but a cash grab. For his own party's plan, he gave some details, insisting that when launched it would be "an individual choice prize."
Question of diversity
The first question that night came from a Muslim neurologist and member of the Conservative Party who asked about Scheer's policy of moving the Canadian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The questioner added that some members of the Muslim community faced "difficulties under Harper's administration" and would have difficulty shifting their votes.
He also expressed concern that some members of parliament had vilified his religion.
Watch when Scheer walks into various communities:
On the embassy question, Scheer did not evade. He said that the Conservatives would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an answer that received applause from the crowd. As for Islam itself, Scheer stressed that the party included all religions.
Attract young voters
Youth elections were also raised, an important demographic in which the Conservatives continued to struggle to attract support. Scheer is challenged about how to change party image and make it "attractive and cool" for younger voters.
He acknowledged the party "failed to connect with young people in the last election." But he said that the Liberals had just taken the sound of the youth.
He said his policy would be to discuss issues that make young people anxious, such as affordability of housing. The plan will make it easier for young people to qualify for mortgages and bring new units to market, he said.
Watch when Scheer talks about youth selection:
Deficit fighting is an important issue for young people, he said, because they have to repay funds borrowed by the government today.
As a problem, he said the Conservative Party's struggle for free speech on university campuses resonated with young voters. "We have so many universities where it is not allowed to happen because a small group of people will close the debate or prevent someone from coming and giving their views," said the 39-year-old man. "Those problems are very harmonious with young people."
Crime and immigration
More traditional conservative causes – the so-called red meat problem – such as taxes, pipelines and illegal immigration are also appointed by audience members.
A Conservative asks whether Scheer will support a policy that forces parties who support irregular border crossings to pay 10 percent of the costs borne by migrants.
Scheer said he would rather "end, the problem of illegal border crossings in the first place."
"It starts with ensuring that people have confidence in our immigration system; it starts by ensuring the integrity of our borders so that people come to Canada in the right way; that our immigration system is based on justice and compassion."
Meanwhile, many of the answers include a familiar basis.
On the question of violent crime, he said repeat offenders need to face harsher consequences and meaningful penalties. On a question about gun ownership, he commented that new weapons regulations only hurt legitimate weapons owners, and did little to deter criminals.
Many of his responses include sharp shots at the Liberals, accusing them of reckless deficit spending, raising taxes, becoming weak in securing borders and engaging in bad rhetoric.
"This is how we know we won a fight," he said. "When they throw this evil, evil, and personal attack on us."
Watch the Conservative leader blow up Liberals in military procurement:
Smooth Scheer all night and never confused with questions. However, as pointed out by the Conservative supporters, Walsh, he "preached a lot to converts."
Walsh said he was overall impressed with Scheer's "strong" performance, even though he "wandered a little" on the question of climate change.
Zamal Whyte, from Mississauga, Ont., Said that his side eagerly anticipated the entire platform and understanding the strategy to provide some details at this time.
"Let's hope it doesn't backfire. Hopefully, he starts removing the nuts and bolts."