Maxime Bernier, MP Beauce, former Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate who received 49.05% of the final tally and was narrowly edged out by Andrew Scheer, announced this morning he was leaving the Conservative Party. In a blog post on his website, Bernier detailed the reasons he was leaving the Party. Within, he took aim at the Party, its leadership, and its policies.
“I have come to realize over the past year that this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed. “
Ouch. There was controversy surrounding the leadership vote, one of which involved the discrepancy between the number of votes received and the number of members on lists given to candidates. However, at the time, Bernier insisted he supported Scheer “unconditionally”. He may even have meant it; for a time.
As I stated on election night: I support our new leader Andrew Scheer. Unconditionally.
— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) June 6, 2017
It didn’t last because Bernier follows the beat of a different drum. He doesn’t like the equalization program, political correctness, supply management, corporate welfare or extreme multiculturalism. It could also be argued that what he really doesn’t like is being told to toe the party line. So he’s going to start his own party, which is, by far, the most efficient way to offer truly unconditional support to the leader.
Like Derek Fildebrandt. The fact that Fildebrandt could have a federal cousin by Election 2019 is an interesting twist. With Fildebrandt’s help (not that he will take all the credit), Maxime Bernier won a higher percentage of the vote than Scheer in 22 of 34 ridings in Alberta. Obviously, if Bernier, on the last ballot, ended up with 49.05% of the vote across Canada, he beat out Scheer in almost half of the ridings. Does that mean there is a market, politically, for what Bernier will be selling?
Equalization: the most despised program in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, British Columbia and basically every province who gives more than they receive. Fun Fact: Quebec doesn’t actually appreciate being labeled a “welfare state” by the “have” provinces.
Political Correctness: Bernier declared the “death of political correctness” on August 19, 2018, a mere five days ago. A number of people agree. Too many, in my opinion. As an Albertan who was influenced immensely by my grandmother, I’ve come to know “political correctness” as a modern form of “civility”.
I still remember the first time I dropped the f-bomb in front of my Nana. I guarantee the only reason I didn’t receive a wooden spoon for that is because she was driving at the time. My mom lovingly chided her by saying I got it from her because when she had to take computer courses for work in the 90’s, she used to walk in the door on an almost daily basis and sigh “f**************ck”. She was almost 60 at the time… it was a big deal; and very influential 🙂
Supply management: as Bernier noted in his blog, we could end the trade war with Trump if we were willing to give up supply management. According to Bernier, Scheer pandered to the dairy farmers of Canada, against the benefits to taxpayers, with his vow to keep the program afloat.
Corporate welfare: as a Quebecois MP, Bernier took a risk throwing Bombarier under the bus; but it resonated with pretty much everyone else.
Extreme multiculturalism: Bernier took aim at Trudeau’s mantra of “diversity is our strength” with his brief thread against unrestrained multiculturalism. It resonated alright. Based on the number of responses to an overall theme in a recent post I wrote that was unrelated to multiculturalism and immigration, I can confidently say, only 18 hours after I published, that a number of conservatives in Alberta seem to agree.
Is there a market for what Bernier is selling? It’s possible. Today, it’s too soon to tell whether many will follow Bernier to a new political party. With that being said, it won’t take much to damage the Conservative Party of Canada’s chances of bringing Trudeau down to a minority government, let alone actually managing to form government. Bernier could do a lot of damage by taking 3-5% of the vote. If he takes more, it will be a huge hit to Scheer.
But let’s be honest; Scheer will never be Prime Minister – he was a placeholder. The best he can hope for is not being the guy who allows the Liberals to gain seats at the expense of the CPC. Right now, if Scheer isn’t breaking a sweat, he doesn’t realize the trouble he’s in.
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