Friday, March 18, 2016

Bernier planning Conservative leadership bid

Maxime Bernier Preparing Bid For Conservative Party Leadership - Althia Raj, Huffington Post:

December 18, 2015 - "Maxime Bernier is testing the waters. The Conservative MP, and former foreign affairs and industry minister under Stephen Harper, is trying to get a team ready to plan his leadership bid to replace his former boss, he told The Huffington Post Canada in a year-end interview....

"Bernier was asked to resign as foreign affairs minister after he left his ministerial documents at then-girlfriend Julie Couillard's house — a woman with former ties to the Hells Angels. While he spent time in the political doghouse — as a junior minister for small business — Bernier criss-crossed the country giving speeches about small government and lower taxes.

"He developed quite a following at Conservative gatherings such as the Manning Networking Conference. After the election on Oct. 19, Bernier said he received calls from people across the country asking him to think seriously about becoming the Conservative Party of Canada's second leader. He even has caucus support outside of Quebec, he said....

"Bernier proudly noted that Quebec is the only province that saw Conservative gains.... 'We ran a beautiful campaign, we focused our message on Conservative values — lower taxes, respect for the Constitution, and we were present in the regions of Quebec, and it worked'....

"Bernier defends the Tories' focus on banning the niqab from citizenship ceremonies — saying he still believes giving the oath of citizenship should be taken with an exposed face. Quebecers, and Canadians, he said, didn't reject the Conservatives' program.

"'Perhaps they rejected the perception of the personality of the prime minister, but they did not reject the program of the party: lower taxes, respect for the Constitution, promises not to run deficits.' Those are Conservative values Bernier wants to champion if he runs.

"A self-described libertarian, he said he'll focus his platform on a more decentralized federalism, a smaller government less involved in Canadians' day-to-day lives, as well as more personal freedoms.

"He might champion a flat tax — he wrote a book on the subject, he noted. He'll certainly call for balanced-budgets legislation — just like the one the Liberals plan to repeal. Since the election, he has already called for an end to corporate subsidies — fully aware of the paradox, since he dished them out as industry minister."

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