MP Maxime Bernier quits ‘morally corrupt’ Conservatives, plans to start new party

MP Maxime Bernier quits 'morally corrupt' Conservatives, plans to start new party
MP Maxime Bernier quits 'morally corrupt' Conservatives, plans to start new party

Divisive Quebec MP Maxime Bernier made a scorched earth exit from the Conservatives today while announcing plans to start his own federal party.

Bernier, who represents the riding of Beauce, made the announcement Thursday morning in Ottawa as the party’s policy convention kicks off in Halifax.

“I have come to realize over the past year that this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed,” he said, on the heels of controversial tweets he posted regarding diversity.

“I know for a fact that many in the caucus privately oppose supply management, but buying votes in a few key ridings is more important than defending the interests of Canadians.”

Bernier said he plans to talk to Elections Canada on Friday morning and said his goal is to head a party that runs candidates in Canada’s 338 ridings.

“We’ll have a lot of Canadians and that new party will win the next election.”

Canada’s dairy supply management system has been a consistent sticking point for Bernier, but in his take-down of the party, he also attacked Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer for supporting retaliatory tariffs against the United States.

“I’m the only one in the House who is against a trade war and the only one in the House who is for Canadian consumers,” he said.

Bernier has caused waves on the national scene, and within his own party, for recent tweets regarding Canada’s diversity. They have been labeled as xenophobic by some commentators, while others view them as the start of a much-needed debate over Canadian identity and the role of immigration.

Scheer, who narrowly beat Bernier at last year’s leadership convention, said the former cabinet minister was more occupied with advancing his own profile than the needs of the party.

“Today Maxime made a choice,” he told reporters in Halifax. “He decided today to help Justin Trudeau.”

“I always challenged him to put personal ambition aside and to concentrate on a common ground that all Conservatives can rally around.… Not once did he come to me or my team with ideas for the issues he’s raising.”