While the federal Conservative caucus gathers in Halifax for a policy convention, Maxime Bernier holds a press conference in Ottawa at 1PM this afternoon.
This is the first time the Beauce, Quebec MP has spoken to media since his tweets on multiculturalism and diversity earlier this month. In his tweets, Bernier criticised attempts to push extreme diversity on the country which would lead to “cultural balkanization” and “destroy what makes us a great country”.
Conservatives not in accord with Bernier’s comments
Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer, criticised Maxime’s remarks, alongside the Prime Minister and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Scheer claimed the Quebec MP was engaging in “identity politics” and that “Maxime Bernier holds no official role in caucus and does not speak for the Conservative Party of Canada on any issue”.
Other members of the Conservative party have also criticised Bernier’s actions. Outspoken Calgary MP Michelle Rempel said that Bernier has a “choice to make:Does he want Andrew Scheer to win or Justin Trudeau to win?”
Maxime Bernier was the runner up to the federal Conservative leadership race with 49% of the vote, and was narrowly beaten by Scheer who managed to garner 51%. Relations between the former contenders have been cold since a chapter released from Bernier’s book claimed the opposition leader won the race with the help of “fake conservatives” and took to criticising dairy supply-chain management.
Leading up to the announcement, Bernier’s top adviser libertarian Martin Masse quit his job at the Montreal Economic Institute to work closer with the Quebec MP. Speculation has ran wild about what Bernier was going to say, some even predicting he would start his own political party
Half an hour after Maxime Bernier’s comments are to be made, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer is set to give his own remarks, culminating in the final conclusion of the Conservative Party’s internal struggles.
Conservatives have abandoned their principles
During the Press Conference Maxime Bernier took the opportunity to offer a biting criticism to the Conservative’s approach on supply management and political correctness.
“I am in politics to defend ideas, real conservatives ideas,” Bernier said, “My party’s stand on several issues have convinced me that under the current leadership has all but abandoned its core conservative principles”.
The Quebec MP blasted what he called the “dairy cartel” and said “supply management has become one of the main stumbling blocks to an agreement with the United States on NAFTA.”
Andrew Scheer is not a leader
“Instead of leading… Andrew Scheer is following the Trudeau Liberals,” said Bernier
Speaking on Andrew Scheer’s decision to turn his back on the diversity comments Bernier said “Andrew Scheer chose to avoid the controversy. He and several of my collegues have disavowed me. They are so afraid of criticism by the left and the media…”
Bernier criticised the Conservative leader for playing “identity politics” and into the hands of the Liberals.
“I’m now convinced that what we will get if Andrew Scheer will become Prime Minister is just a moderate version of the disastrous Liberal policies.”
Resignation from the Conservative Party of Canada
Maxime Bernier ended the announcement by offering his resignation from the Conservative Party of Canada. When expressing his views on the party he said they are “intellectually and morally corrupt” and that “the Conservative Party has abandoned Conservatives. It does not represent them anymore.”
The reasons cited for his resignation included the claim that the Conservative Party “is s afraid to articulate any coherent philosophy to support it’s position… The result is a bunch of platitudes that don’t offend anybody but also don’t mean anything.”
“This is why as of today I am no longer a member of the Conservative party of Canada. I want to do politics differently I will find another way to give a voice to millions of Canadians” said Maxime Bernier.
The goal is to start a new party
When questioned by reporters about his future plans, the Quebec MP claimed he intends on keeping his seat in parliament and will be announcing the launch of a new party in the upcoming few weeks.
“The goal is to start a new party,” said Maxime Bernier “I am starting that conversation right now”.
Bernier announced that he made the decision to start a new party after “discussion with Andrew Scheer nine days ago”.
“It was not only the one conversation” that made him leave according to Bernier.
“I am predicting that the new party will win the election” said Maxime Bernier before ending questions with reporters.