Maxime Bernier took to social media this Sunday to dispel popular concerns that his new party will split the Conservative vote.
The Beauce, Quebec MP recently rocked the political scene across the country after announcing he was resigning from the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), citing a lack of “conservative principles” in the party and among the leadership.
“I have come to realize over the past year that this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed,” said Maxime at an Ottawa press conference where he announced his resignation.
Bernier directly addressed a common criticism of his decision to leave the party in a Facebook post and identical Twitter thread. Many political pundits and Conservative insiders see Bernier’s move as only beneficial to the ruling Liberals and will end up stunting the CPC’s momentum to defeat the Trudeau government in next year’s election.
CPC party leader Andrew Scheer expressed similar sentiments when he spoke of Bernier’s decision to leave at the Conservative Policy Convention in Halifax late last month.
“Today Maxime made a choice… He decided today to help Justin Trudeau,” said Scheer.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper also tuned in on the decision and offered his support to Andrew Scheer in a tweet on August 23rd.
While addressing both Conservative naysayers and those sitting on the fence weighing whether they should support him, Maxime offered three reasons why fearing a split vote is unjustified.
This isn’t the first time that Maxime has used social media to get a point across. Leading up to his resignation, the Quebec MP used Twitter to criticize “extreme multiculturalism” and the divisiveness of diversity initiatives. His comments largely contributed to many Conservatives, including the opposition leader Andrew Scheer, distancing themselves from his positions.
Maxime’s points were interesting to say the least. The recently independent MP used the opportunity to show his rhetorical abilities and perhaps convince a few voters of his merit along the way.
Here is an analysis of Maxime’s three main arguments…
In his first point, Bernier took the opportunity to portray a sense of inevitability in his decision. According to Bernier, the party was already split well before his decision to leave it. To his credit, Bernier only lost the party leadership to Andrew Scheer by a small margin of 2%, making him a big contender and a threat to Scheer’s hold on the party.
Many Conservatives are also split on the party’s approaches to immigration as well as supply management. As an open critic of the CPC’s take on supply management, Maxime drew the ire of the party leader. While many conservatives privately oppose the party’s stance on dairy supply management, Scheer has called for ideological unity and conformity on the issue moving into the next election.
While it might not be a stretch that Maxime Bernier’s decision was inevitable given the circumstances leading up to it, the first point seems kind of tautological. Claiming that there’s no need to be concerned about the vote being split because it had already been split is redundant. But don’t let the logic fool you because it’s effectively persuasive.
In a move to alleviate some of the Conservative’s fears, and make the Liberals and NDP less cocksure about his resignation, Bernier signaled that he is attracting potential members from across the political spectrum.
Citing a survey done by Abacus Data titled “Will Maxime Bernier be a spoiler for the Conservative Party?“, Maxime made the brazen claim that everybody is up for grabs.
The poll shows that a new party by Maxime Bernier would have the potential impact of gaining 13% of the votes in the 2019 federal election. This is an astounding quantity of people who would vote for, what is at this point, an entirely hypothetical party.
The Abacus Data statistics show that the Liberals face a 3% loss of potential voters, the Conservatives 6% and NDP could potentially lose 2%. While these numbers do in fact put Bernier’s political sway in a formidable third party position, contending with the likes of the NDP, the independent MP hopes that the number will be even larger come election time.
Bernier’s main challenge will be attempting to get those uninterested in voting to come out in a show of support for his style of leadership. Whether the Quebec MP is being overconfident in his ability to charm potential voters is yet to be seen. “We’ll have a lot of Canadians, and that new party will win the next election,” said Maxime Bernier before ending remarks with reporters in Ottawa after announcing his resignation.
In his final argument, the Quebec MP envelopes his political mission with a sense of urgency. Maxime Bernier is counting on offering an opportunity for something different. If political trends in the last few years have shown us anything it is that people are looking for a break from the status quo.
Maxime is not a political outsider by any means, but rather, he represents a style of leadership which Canadians have come to forget. He isn’t an image obsessed dilettante like Justin Trudeau, nor does he have the soft-spoken mannerism and agreeable character of Andrew Scheer, he is something of his own caliber. Maxime is not interested in what he calls “weak leadership” but something more stern and stiff, a little more old fashioned.
Bernier knows that everything is riding on his decision to leave the party, perhaps his entire political career. This is an urgent undertaking and he wants everybody else to feel the same way.
Mr. Bernier ended his reasoning with a hint that his newly found party is set to be released “very soon”. Maxime Bernier has about a year to enroll the required amount of candidates for the 2019 federal election. If anything, Mr. Bernier’s recent comments show a willingness to engage with the political center and compel strategic voters to vote on principle for once.
For Maxime Bernier’s full statement, read below…
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