Quebec Member of Parliament (MP) and former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier has been a mainstay in Canadian news since he publicly challenged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “cult of diversity” in August. Less than two weeks later, at the party’s policy convention, Bernier left the Tories.
Bernier then announced that he would be forming his own party because the Conservatives were, in his words, “too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed.” (RELATED: Diversity Critic Maxime Bernier Leaving Conservative Party)
The result is the People’s Party of Canada. As founder and leader, Bernier believes he can attract principled conservatives voters not only from the Conservative Party but from “blue Liberals” and even New Democratic voters “who are opposed to corporate welfare.”
Bernier, with a background in economics, is fond of quoting philosopher Ayn Rand even as he consistently heads the “best dressed” list conducted annually on Parliament Hill. Bernier sat down with The Daily Caller’s Ottawa Bureau Chief on Monday in his Ottawa MP’s office. The following are some highlights from that interview:
DC: Why did you call it the People’s Party and not the Libertarian Party?
MB: It’s different than the old parties. They try to use people’s money to buy votes; they try to please every special interest group. And we won’t do that. We will do politics for all Canadians, for the people. And we want to put the power back in the hands of the people … If you want to call me a populist politician, you have to call me a smart populist politician!”
DC: From a philosophical point of view, how would you define the party?
MB: The policies of the party are based on four principles: individual freedom, personal responsibility, respect and fairness … We have faith in people … We don’t believe in a big fat government … Do I believe in more government intervention in your daily life? The answer would be no.
DC: Why didn’t you challenge the status quo with a political think-tank as opposed to a new political party?
MB: Because we want to change the way we are doing politics in Canada … We have the ideas … the same ideas that I put forward in the leadership campaign.
DC: Are you concerned that you are going to split the right-of-center vote?
MB: No, because we are going to prove that we are the alternative. If people want to have a real conservative government, we are the alternative. We can have Conservatives voting for us … also Liberals who believe in a balanced budget and lower taxes … blue Liberals. And also we can have some NDP … who want to abolish corporate welfare. We can attract the 30 percent of Canadians who did not vote in the last election because they don’t believe in politicians … I don’t try to please everybody or to have the debate that we need in Canada. There is no political correctness with us.
DC: You talk a lot about diversity. Why is the Conservative Party afraid to talk about diversity?
MB: I think they had a focus group! I’m for diversity: this country was built by immigrants … but what I’m questioning is the Trudeau government’s cult of diversity. We must celebrate what unites us … and the Trudeau government is …. trying to please every special interest group. The Liberal government and the Conservative Party don’t want to speak about that … I want people to come to Canada who believe in Canadian values. Diversity of opinion is good, but I want people to share our values.
DC: Can [Conservative Leader} Andrew Scheer call himself a conservative and support supply management?
MB: He wants to keep a socialist system that is a regressive tax for the poor in this country. That’s not being a conservative.
DC: The reaction from the Canadian media been so hostile to your decision to form a new party. Has it affected you.
MB: I’m doing what I think is right for this country. It’s going very well, we are able to raise money and we are attracting members … All together, we’ll build a better country.