In a public letter posted to his official website at MaximeBernier.com, Bernier — the Member of Parliament for the Quebec riding of Beauce — declared his tenure with the Conservative Party of Canada was officially at an end.
In a series of scathing indictments of the current party apparatus and all attendant apparatchiks, Bernier makes the case very clear for his departure. From the defense of Canada’s current supply management system as it pertains to dairy farmers to the retaliatory tariffs suggested by the Trudeau-led Liberal Party of Canada being endorsed by Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, Bernier’s displeasure with a litany of decisions being made on a regular basis by his former caucus mates is made crystal clear. He writes on the matter in his letter of departure.
“The Conservative Party tries to avoid important but controversial issues of concern to Conservatives and Canadians in general. It is afraid to articulate any coherent philosophy to support its positions. Every public declaration is tested with polls and focus groups. The result is a bunch of platitudes that don’t offend anybody, but also don’t mean anything and don’t motivate anyone. Andrew Scheer keeps talking about his ‘positive Conservative vision.’ But nobody knows what that vision is. The Conservative Party has abandoned conservatives. It does not represent them anymore. And it has nothing of substance to offer Canadians looking for a political alternative.”
According to reportage from The Globe and Mail, Maxime Bernier plans to create his own political party that stands closer to his own libertarian flavored conservatism, although no formal name nor registration for the party has yet been put forth to Elections Canada. Discussions surrounding the formation of the party are already underway, according to an anonymous source speaking to The Globe and Mail, with the new party on target to be in place for the fall session of the House of Commons.
The timing of the announcement was likely premeditated and calculated for maximum political disruption and visibility as the Conservative Party of Canada kicks off a federal policy convention today in the maritime port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tory MPs were scheduled to meet today to have a formal discussion as to whether to eject Maxime Bernier from caucus over his controversial views surrounding immigration policy and the current direction taken by Andrew Scheer as leader of the party.
Bernier was first elected in 2006 to represent his current riding and has since then built up a body of libertarian bona fides in his constant objections to the continued support of supply management — calling the quota system managed by bureaucrats and farmers the “dairy cartel” — in addition to his opposition to public and private sector bailouts by the federal government and the taxpayers who fund it. Bernier speaks to this issue within the missive posted to his website.
“A Conservative party that supports free markets should also advocate the end of corporate welfare. It is not only the principled thing to do, it could also be popular if we defend it in a consistent way. Canadians are tired of paying taxes to bail out Bombardier, Ford and other businesses.”
Bernier has had a public divide with the official party apparatus, in particular Scheer, after having lost a hotly contested leadership contest in which he was an odds-on favorite. Since then, he had been removed from his position as innovation critic under Scheer’s shadow cabinet and had publicly called into question the party’s commitment to “extreme multiculturalism,” which Bernier says will divide Canadians “into little tribes that have less and less in common.”
Andrew Scheer is expected to have a public press conference today in order to react to Bernier’s departure, amongst other party matters.