Maverick MP Maxime Bernier says racists have no place in his party

Bernier’s defended his new party which is gaining support from a fringe political group

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.”

Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Selkirk College students protest proposed tuition increases

Sudents’ union says this year’s 2 per cent increase puts education out of reach for some

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

Born 1 pound, 11 ounces, Winlaw premature baby comes home

Indra Greaves was born at the Nelson hospital after just 24 weeks of gestation

Trail area homicide investigation continues

Jan. 14 marked one year since Jordan Workman was discovered in the trunk of a burnt car

Updated: Outbreak prompts advisory for visitors to extended care wing in Trail hospital

A respiratory infection has been active in Poplar Ridge Pavilion since Monday, advises IH

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Trial starts for man accused of killing Winnipeg bus driver

The Winnipeg bus driver was stabbed multiple times back in 2017

Giuliani clarifies comments about Trump Tower Moscow project

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani clarifies comments he made

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Most Read