Maxime Berner Quits the Conservative Party to Start New Party
Former Conservative leadership candidate, Maxime Bernier has quit the Conservative Party of Canada to start his own libertarian version.
According to the story on the official website of CTV news, Bernier says the party has "all but abandoned its core conservative principles" and harshly criticized it for bowing to polls and focus groups in order to set policy.
"I am in politics to defend ideas - real conservative ideas - because I passionately care about the future of our country," Bernier told reporters in Ottawa, adding that he isn't convinced that party leader Andrew Scheer wouldn't be a "more moderate" version of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if he won the 2019 federal election.
"I've come to realize this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed," he said.
Bernier says he wants to create a new party and his goal is to head a party that runs candidates in all of Canada's 338 federal ridings. "We'll have a lot of Canadians, and that new party will win the next election", he confidently said.
The official website of BBC news says that he made the big announcement of leaving the federal conservative caucus in front of a packed and expectant press conference on Thursday in Ottawa, just hours before his former colleagues were to meet in Halifax for the party's biennial policy convention.
He said he did not speak to any other Conservative members of parliament about leaving the caucus for his new party.
"I want to do politics differently," he said. "I will find another way to give a voice to millions of Canadians. I will continue to fight for freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect".
He has served as a Conservative MP for the Quebec constituency of Beauce for the past twelve years, and will remain an independent MP in the House of Commons.
Mr Bernier says his decision was made in part because the party told him to "shut up" when he attacked Mr Trudeau's immigration and diversity policies.
According to the story on Global News’ website, Bernier’s plans to start his own party has many policy analysts arguing about the impact this move could have on the 2019 federal election.
To answer this question, a postdoctoral fellow with the University of Toronto’s history department, Christo Aivalis, whose research primarily focuses on Canadian labour and political history, explains thus “it depends on which policy points Bernier chooses to highlight in his platform. Bernier really tried to combine his pro-free-market ideology with a real skepticism of multiculturalism, of diversity, for any kind of discourse around race and gender that talk about privilege”.
Aivalis also added that based on the points Bernier emphasized throughout his tenure as a vocal Conservative MP, it’s reasonable to assume Bernier’s party platform will be “stridently free market,” and may direct a critical eye towards Canadian immigration policy and multiculturalism.
Bernier’s frequent opposition to Canada’s supply management system for dairy, eggs and other poultry products, which attempts to limit the supply of products to what Canadians are likely to consume to ensure stable pricing, may differentiate a Bernier-driven political party from the federal Conservative Party of Canada.
In his final speech, Bernier again referenced supply management as a Conservative Party policy point with which he disagreed.
In response to Mr Bernier's decision to leave the party, Mr Scheer said: "He has chosen to put himself above all things".
Some prominent Conservatives also rallied around Scheer.
Former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who helped secure the historic merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives that formed the modern-day Conservative Party, says the party needs to move forward.
“It is clear that Max never accepted the result of the leadership vote and seeks only to divide Conservatives. His decision today allows the Conservative Party of Canada to move forward united behind our leader," he tweeted.
Todd Doherty tweeted “you had every opportunity to stand in caucus to share your views and provide input. When given the opportunity - you stayed silent or blamed it on others around you. You’re Twitter Tough... all bark no bite. #shameful".