EDMONTON -- Premier Jason Kenney has bid farewell on Twitter to outgoing Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who announced his resignation in the House of Commons Thursday.

"Thank you to my friend @AndrewScheer for his service to Canada in the tough job of Leader of the Opposition," said Kenney. "I know this was a difficult decision, and wish Andrew all good things in the future."

Scheer, elected as leader in 2017, told the house it was "one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made," but he was putting his family first.

Other rival politicians including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also expressed respect for Scheer as he stepped down.

"I think we speak as a united voice in acknowledging that and thank you for your service," Singh said.

In an interview with Alberta Primetime, Jim Carr, Ottawa's special representative to the prairies, said he respected Scheer's decision.

"It's a very tough, rough and tumble business and you have to deal with what's happening inside and what's outside at the same time, and it's been very tough for Mr. Scheer," he said. "It's very hard to broker all the interests within a political party and all the diversity that's this great country."

Carr said Scheer's resignation opens up the party leadership to other candidates who may have more broad appeal to Canadians than Scheer, who was criticized for his socially conservative views during the election campaign and after the Conservatives' loss.

Carr was appointed as special representative to the prairies three weeks ago as Trudeau shook up his cabinet post-election.

The Conservative National Council is expected to immediately begin the process of organizing an election for a new leader.