Bernier fires back at Scheer
Conservative MP calls identity politics practice ‘divisive’
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.