Quebec Member of Parliament Maxime Bernier, the former foreign affairs and industry minister in the previous Stephen Harper government, is noted for his libertarian economic talk that sometimes sounds like it comes from a character in an Ayn Rand novel. Bernier was easily leading the pack of contenders in the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race — until the recent entry of “Shark Tank” star and entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary.
Many of the other candidates have angrily criticized O’Leary for not being a real conservative but just an opportunistic liberal. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, Bernier said he isn’t so sure.
“I cannot tell you if he’s a conservative because we don’t know his policies and the day that we know his policies it will be easier for me to know what kind of conservative reform it is that he wants to bring to Canada — but up till now it’s all about himself and all the slogans, the buzzwords that he’s using but we don’t know his platform,” Bernier said.
He said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is quickly losing his appeal among people who thought he would fix the economy.
“What did Justin Trudeau say to Canadians two years ago? He said he will bring more opportunities, more jobs and hope. What do we have right now? There are no new full-time jobs and we have a huge deficit,” Bernier said.
“He told us that we would have a balanced budget and we won’t have a balanced budget… it will be deficit after deficit and people understand that by doing that you cannot create wealth and jobs in this country. So I think on the economic platform we have a big opportunity in two years from now to demonstrate to Canadians that we have the platform to create wealth and jobs in this country and, yes, opportunities and hope.”
When asked why he wants to be prime minister, Bernier did not hesitate.
I want to be prime minister because I believe in freedom, I believe in a smaller government, a government that will respect taxpayers and the Constitution, and I think if we have a limited government in Ottawa than we will have more freedom and with more freedom, more prosperity. I have faith in people; I believe they are responsible and they must be free I believe in the real conservative values of individual freedom, individual responsibility, fairness and respect. These values are the basis of Western Civilization. We’ll have a government that’s more efficient, that’s limited and that will produce more prosperity in this country.
Bernier said it won’t be difficult to decide what to do if he takes power from Trudeau.
“The first thing I am going to do is to look at all our spending and be sure to balance the budget because I want to lower taxes for every single Canadian. I will look at all the expenses in all the different department to be sure we are saving money so that we can lower taxes to Canadians without borrowing to do so,” he said.
Bernier also said that despite being libertarian on social policy, “social conservatives are welcome in our party,” especially since Trudeau enforced a rule that all Liberal candidates be pro-abortion.
“The only place they can be is in our party and I’m proud of that. We have pro-life and pro-choice people; it’s not about me it’s about them. I will be open to having a debate on any subject. That’s why I have support from social conservatives. If a Member wants to table a bill on abortion, I will say, ‘Bring that bill; it is your right as a Member of Parliament to table a private member’s bill.’ And yes, we’ll have a debate and we’ll have a free vote for every Conservative member of Parliament.”