Bernier un­veils new party

mav­er­ick mp maxime bernier says racists have no place in his party

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - COMMUNITY LISTINGS - Jan­ice Dick­son

Ot­tawa — Que­bec mp maxime bernier says those who hold racist views to­ward im­mi­gra­tion do not have a place in his new party.

bernier held a news con­fer­ence Fri­day to un­veil the name and logo of his new po­lit­i­cal ven­ture — the peo­ple’s party of Canada. but one of his first or­ders of busi­ness was to de­fend his new party in the wake of sup­port from a fringe po­lit­i­cal group.

“they don’t have a place in our party. i don’t share these values,” said bernier.

he also said he would screen po­ten­tial can­di­dates in­ter­ested in run­ning for his party and that xeno­pho­bic in­di­vid­u­als will not be al­lowed to run.

bernier him­self was heav­ily crit­i­cized in au­gust for a se­ries of tweets which ar­gued “too much di­ver­sity” erodes Canada’s iden­tity and de­stroys what makes it great and that im­mi­gra­tion shouldn’t be open to those who don’t share Cana­dian values of free­dom and equal­ity.

ear­lier this week bernier tweeted in re­sponse to a story about the surge in asy­lum seek­ers at the u.s.-canada bor­der, “if you can buy a plane ticket from Nige­ria to Ny, you’re not a real refugee. how long will this costly farce con­tinue to desta­bi­lize our refugee sys­tem? the so­lu­tion is to close the loophole in the treaty and im­me­di­ately re­turn these false refugees to the u.s.”

he said Fri­day he’s very open to im­mi­gra­tion, but wants to look at the lev­els and wants peo­ple who come to Canada to be able to have a job and “share our Cana­dian values.”

“So let’s have a real de­bate about that.”

bernier’s cham­pi­oning of the im­mi­gra­tion de­bate seems to be ral­ly­ing the very peo­ple he says he does not want in his party.

ear­lier this week bernier con­firmed he took a phone call from travis pa­tron, the leader of the Cana­dian Na­tion­al­ist party, who pro­poses ban­ning burkas, de­port­ing asy­lum seek­ers and low­er­ing im­mi­gra­tion lev­els to 20,000 — 100,000 new­com­ers an­nu­ally.

bernier re­port­edly told pa­tron that those num­bers were too low, but he would like to see im­mi­gra­tion lev­els de­crease to 250,000 per year. he said to “stay tuned” for his party’s con­crete pro­posal.

pa­tron told the Cana­dian press that he was at­tracted to bernier’s lead­er­ship be­cause he is will­ing to de­bate mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism but bernier’s of­fi­cial said there will be no more con­tact with pa­tron.

im­mi­gra­tion is also a po­lit­i­cally hot is­sue in the Que­bec elec­tion. at last night’s de­bate, Coali­tion avenir Que­bec leader Fran­cois le­gault de­fended his pro­posal to ex­pel im­mi­grants who fail a French test af­ter three years in the prov­ince.

bernier, who has spent much of the last year fight­ing with his for­mer col­leagues in the Con­ser­va­tive party over sup­ply man­age­ment, made the bomb­shell an­nounce­ment in au­gust that he’s ditch­ing the Con­ser­va­tive party to form his own. he called his for­mer col­leagues “in­tel­lec­tu­ally and morally cor­rupt.”

he said Fri­day he has raised $140,000 thus far and that thou­sands of peo­ple have reached out to him to get in­volved, but he is not quite ready to reg­is­ter his party with elec­tions Canada. that step will hap­pen over the next sev­eral weeks, he said, adding he will be ready with 338 can­di­dates on the bal­lot in the Oc­to­ber 2019 fed­eral elec­tion.

bernier con­firmed there are only two em­ploy­ees on the party’s pay­roll — martin masse, one of his key or­ga­niz­ers and maxime hupe, who worked pre­vi­ously for bernier as a spokesman for his un­suc­cess­ful lead­er­ship bid.

he said his party will re­spect tax­pay­ers, the Con­sti­tu­tion, re­spect re­gions, prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries equally, and re­spect Canada’s tra­di­tions, “with­out try­ing to forcibly change it like the cur­rent lib­eral govern­ment is do­ing.”

and if peo­ple don’t like his ideas, he says, “that’s OK, don’t vote for me.”

“the politi­cians, they try to please ev­ery­body and when you want to please ev­ery­body, you won’t please ev­ery­body. that’s not my way of do­ing pol­i­tics.”

Con­ser­va­tives are livid at bernier’s power play and ar­gue that adding an­other party on the right side of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum will split the vote and al­low the lib­er­als to eas­ily win an­other ma­jor­ity govern­ment.

bernier, who has not re­ceived any sup­port from the Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus said he has not spo­ken to any of his for­mer col­leagues.

“i didn’t call them. i didn’t ask them for their sup­port,” he added, “and i don’t have time for that ac­tu­ally.”

bernier said he plans to make an­other an­nounce­ment about his party in the com­ing weeks and will un­veil sup­port­ers of his cause who are “very great Cana­di­ans.”

Adrian WYLD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Maxime Bernier speaks about his new po­lit­i­cal party dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Ot­tawa, Fri­day.

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