Bernier fires back at Scheer

Con­ser­va­tive MP calls iden­tity pol­i­tics prac­tice ‘di­vi­sive’

The Western Star - - CANADA -

Con­ser­va­tive MP Maxime Bernier in­sisted Thurs­day he is against iden­tity pol­i­tics and called the prac­tice “di­vi­sive” fol­low­ing crit­i­cism from party leader An­drew Scheer.

In his lat­est string of tweets, Bernier says he has re­peat­edly stated he believes it is de­struc­tive to fo­cus on cul­tural and eth­nic iden­tity in po­lit­i­cal dis­cus­sions.

Bernier said he’s ad­vanc­ing “the op­po­site of iden­tity pol­i­tics” by fo­cus­ing on pol­icy so­lu­tions that con­cern all Cana­di­ans.

Bernier’s lat­est com­ments on Twit­ter come after Scheer is­sued a state­ment in an at­tempt to dis­tance him­self from pre­vi­ous con­tro­ver­sial re­marks made by the Que­bec MP.

In a se­ries of tweets posted Sun­day, Bernier said pro­mot­ing too much di­ver­sity could have the ef­fect of di­vid­ing Canada into “lit­tle tribes” that cause divi­sion and erode Canada’s iden­tity.

Scheer said he per­son­ally dis­agrees with politi­cians on the left and the right when they use iden­tity pol­i­tics to di­vide Cana­di­ans and he will “not en­gage in this type of pol­i­tics.”

Scheer added that Bernier “holds no of­fi­cial role in cau­cus” and does not speak for the party on any is­sue.

Tak­ing ques­tions from re­porters in Que­bec, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau took aim at the Con­ser­va­tives for what he called pit­ting Cana­di­ans against one an­other.

“Un­for­tu­nately, one of the things we’ve seen this week is the Con­ser­va­tive party hasn’t changed much since the time of Stephen Harper,” said Trudeau.

“They still look at the pol­i­tics of divi­sion as a way of draw­ing po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage by pit­ting Cana­di­ans against each other.”

Trudeau said the pol­i­tics of divi­sion can work in the short term to help par­ties get elected, “but it doesn’t help you gov­ern and mostly it doesn’t help you solve the chal­lenges that we are fac­ing to­gether as a so­ci­ety.”

Bernier’s lat­est Twit­ter thread says iden­tity pol­i­tics means try­ing to drum up sup­port by ap­peal­ing to spe­cific groups on the ba­sis of their eth­nic­ity, re­li­gion, lan­guage, sex­u­al­ity or other char­ac­ter­is­tics.

He says the prac­tice has be­come “per­va­sive” and is done by all po­lit­i­cal par­ties try­ing to buy votes.


Maxime Bernier is shown in the House of Com­mons on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa in 2017.

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