Maxime Bernier quits the Conservative Party

Quebec MP Maxime Bernier is quitting the Conservative Party and says he wants to start his own.

Bernier, who narrowly lost the Tory leadership to rival Andrew Scheer, made the announcement on Thursday in Ottawa amid controversy surrounding his tweets over Canada’s diversity and immigration policies.

The MP said he hopes to get his new party started in the next few weeks and will run in the 2019 federal election.

Bernier referred to the Conservative Party as “morally corrupt” and said it has deserted its “core conservative principles” by refusing to end corporate subsidies or abolish the supply management system for poultry and dairy products.

Richard Johnston, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia called Bernier’s announcement a “suicide mission.”

“The opinions that he is articulating publicly are widely held within the Conservative Party,” Johnston said. “He would get no traction outside Quebec.”

But Bernier said he believes the Conservative Party has abandoned “conservatives” and does not represent them anymore.

Scheer commented about Bernier’s resignation in Halifax at the Conservative Party convention and said: “not once did he come to me about these ideas he is now raising.”

“Bernier has made it clear that he wants to help Justin Trudeau rather than his own Conservative team,” Scheer said. “He has chosen to abandon the best alternative to the Liberal Party… and put himself ahead of that.”

Scheer said since Bernier lost the Tory leadership race, the MP is more “interested in advancing his profile than the Conservative principles.”

The three-day Conservative convention in Halifax comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding a series of tweets Bernier posted last week.

Bernier’s tweets argued that more diversity and “having people live among us who reject basic Western values” will lead to “cultural balkanization.” He also tweeted that “more diversity” in Canada will “destroy what makes us a great country.”

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