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Canada Chantal Hébert: For Conservative MP Maxime Bernier it was just a matter of time

02:07  14 june  2018
02:07  14 june  2018 Source:   thestar.com

Andrew Scheer removes Maxime Bernier from Tory front bench

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Candidate MP Michael Chong, pictured speaking at an event for candidates in Greely, Ont. last month, said he is 'obviously' spending most of his time in Conservative MPs Steven Blaney (Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Lévis, Que.) and Maxime Bernier (Beauce, Que.) are the only two current

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier , businessman Kevin O’Leary, and Conservative MP Andrew In interviews with The Hill Times , Conservative insiders said the three names are coming up based on their As a practical matter , maybe at the end of the day it doesn’t make that much difference.


OTTAWA— Absent Monday’s federal byelection in the Quebec riding of Chicoutimi-Le Fjord Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer might not have so expeditiously booted his former rival Maxime Bernier from his shadow cabinet. Still it was probably only a matter of time before last year’s leadership runner-up found himself out in the cold.

On Tuesday, Bernier lost his role as official opposition innovation critic over what caucus insiders characterize as a breach of his promise to desist from publicly challenging party policy by pursuing the elimination of Canada’s supply management system.

Bernier is said to have broken his word by uploading to his personal website the supply management chapter of a future book on his political vision, and by staying out of the House of Commons rather than showing unanimous for a motion of support for the Liberal government in the nascent tariff battle with the Trump administration.

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  Breaking a promise a firing offence: Scheer Breaking a promise a firing offence: ScheerBernier denies he did anything wrong and some of his supporters are even urging him to break away from the Tories and start his own libertarian party.

Kevin O’Leary has announced that he will support former rival Maxime Bernier , pictured, a Conservative MP who represents the riding of Beauce Que. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright.

Mar 6, 2018 OTTAWA — Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is rejecting a meeting request from Liberal after the pair exchanged barbs on Twitter over issues of race and identity politics. SIMPSON" Flickr tag.

The chapter was contentious not because it reiterates Bernier’s longstanding opposition to the system that shelters Canada’s poultry and dairy industries from foreign competition but because it asserts that Scheer owes his leadership position to “fake” Conservative members drawn from the ranks of the Quebec dairy lobby.

After its initial publication embarrassed Scheer earlier this spring Bernier said he was putting the book project on ice. But the contentious chapter resurfaced on his website in the immediate aftermath of the imposition by the Trump administration of tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. The White House has since framed those actions as measures designed to put pressure on Canada to abandon its protectionist dairy policies.

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Conservative leadership candidates, including, from left, Chris Alexander, Maxime Bernier , Andrew Scheer, Erin O'Toole, and Lisa Raitt, are drawing money away from the Conservative Party, though the party hopes that in the long run, the race draws in more donors. The Hill Times photograph by Jake

The Conservative MP announced her bid for the party leadership on Nov. 5. The ‘Prince of Pot’ donated to Maxime Bernier . Republicans pressure Trump to drop tariffs after Trudeau retaliation, but it might not matter , say U.S. trade watchers.

Bernier’s timing could not have been worse.

He may have believed the American tariffs offered him an opportunity to advance his contention that larger Canadian interests are being sacrificed on the altar of the sacred cow of the supply management system.

But in the current deteriorating Canada/U.S. climate, using Trump’s bullying moves to validate his point could not but amount to a poor way to win more voters to his argument.

Whatever the intention it also looked like a shot across the Conservative bow in the imminent Chicoutimi-Le Fjord byelection.

Scheer has high hopes for Monday’s vote. Party strategists see the byelection as a dry run for next year’s general campaign in Quebec.

A four-way split in the vote allowed the Liberals to narrowly win the seat from the NDP in 2015. But since then New Democrat and BQ fortunes have declined precipitously. In a one-on-one battle with the Liberals in Quebec, the Conservatives believe they can deprive Trudeau of gains in his home province next year and in the process deny him a second term in government.

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OTTAWA — Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is rejecting a meeting request from Liberal counterpart Celina Caesar-Chavannes after the pair — Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) March 6, 2018. 4/4 I say it 's time we conservatives stop being afraid to defend our vision of a just society made up of free

But now is not the right time to publish it ," Maxime Bernier tweeted on Wednesday, five months after announcing his intention to write Rosemary Barton hosts Chantal Hébert , Andrew Coyne and Althia Raj. 16:14. Conservative Maxime Bernier talks about losing out on the job he wanted — again.

In the lead-up to the byelection, the Conservative party has consistently played up Scheer’s pro-supply management credentials. It must have struck a Liberal nerve for Trudeau ended up stopping in the riding on the way to the G7 just to reassert his own determination to defend the system against all comers at the NAFTA table.

With less than a week to go to the byelection, a local poll published on Wednesday showed the Conservatives with a strong lead on the Liberals. Under that light, Bernier’s decision to once again highlight his dissent could only too easily be construed by many of his caucus colleagues as a deliberate act of sabotage.

In politics, the degree of one’s independence from the party line is inversely proportional to the importance of one’s parliamentary role. Second only to the ministerial obligation to cabinet solidarity is that of official opposition critics to their party’s core policies.

Bernier is hardly the only former leadership candidate who has had to put a lid on contrary views since losing to Scheer. The main theme of Ontario MP Michael Chong’s campaign revolved around the need for the Conservatives to embrace carbon pricing as part of a more muscular climate change strategy.

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But, as Chantal Hébert writes, Scheer’s leadership still awaits the test of a general election. By all indications, Scheer’s own runner-up – Maxime Bernier – is not immune to the second- time -lucky syndrome. In many Conservative quarters, the Beauce MP is a sought-after fundraising magnet.

Conservative Party leadership candidates Kevin O'Leary and Maxime Bernier . Meanwhile, The Hill Times reported last week that Conservative MP Alex Nuttall (Barrie-Springwater-Oro Medonte, Ont.), who is the Jun 6, 2018 Karina Gould, Andrew Leslie show just how family-friendly House can be .

Andrew Scheer, right, is congratulated by Maxime Bernier after being elected the new leader of the federal Conservative party at the federal Conservative leadership convention in Toronto on May 27, 2017. Bernier has long asserted that Scheer owes his leadership position to “fake” Conservative members drawn from the ranks of the Quebec dairy lobby.© Frank Gunn Andrew Scheer, right, is congratulated by Maxime Bernier after being elected the new leader of the federal Conservative party at the federal Conservative leadership convention in Toronto on May 27, 2017. Bernier has long asserted that Scheer owes his leadership position to “fake” Conservative members drawn from the ranks of the Quebec dairy lobby.

But as a member of Scheer’s shadow cabinet, Chong has kept quiet in the face of his party’s enduring anti-carbon tax crusade.

Support for supply management is as intrinsic to Scheer’s leadership as the Conservative opposition to carbon pricing. Like it or not the ship on both policies sailed at the time of last year’s CPC vote.

No one should necessarily count on many of Bernier’s colleagues to intercede in his favour.

He is as popular within the libertarian ranks of the party as he is unpopular among his Quebec colleagues. They would be happy enough to see the last of him in the House of Commons.

If, as all those who know him assume, Bernier still harbours national leadership ambitions, he should probably grant his caucus critics their wish by stealing a page from the handbooks of John Turner, Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper and waiting for the next leadership opportunity from outside Parliament.

Chantal Hébert is a columnist based in Ottawa covering politics. Follow her on Twitter: @ChantalHbert

Trump wants us out of business: Dairy farmers .
Trump wants us out of business: Dairy farmersYet even as it did so, some in this country were calling for major reforms to the very system of protections for Canada's dairy, egg and chicken farmers that first ignited — and has continued to sustain — Trump's anger: supply management.

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