Editorial – Maxime Bernier’s political future looks uncertain

Tom Henihan

It seems that hell hath no fury like a politician scorned, and Maxime Bernier, leader of the fledgling People’s Party of Canada is now aiming that fury at immigrants to Canada.

Whenever a politician decides, due to irreconcilable differences with the party, to leave and form a new political entity, it is rarely a successful bid.

It is usually an impetuous and ill-conceived maneuver that appears more personally motivated and desperate, rather than driven by any political vision.

In Alberta, Derek Filderbrandt, is an example of how such maneuvers can spell the end of someone’s political career.

Although the Alberta PCs expelled Filderbrandt rather than he leaving of his own accord, in a desperate effort to save his political career, he resurrected the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, becoming the party’s leader by acclamation.

Leadership by acclamation is never an auspicious beginning for any party or its leader.

In the 2019 provincial election, the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, failed to win one seat, including Filderbrandt’s in Chestermere-Strathmore, which he lost to Leela Aheer who received 15,612 votes to Filderbrandt’s 1,683

On April 30, 2019, Fildebrandt announced his resignation as leader of Freedom Conservative Party and his retirement from politics and a similar fate may await Maxime Bernier following the federal election in October.

The irreconcilable difference with the P.C.s in Bernier’s case is that he wanted to lead the party and Andrew Scheer denied him that opportunity.

Although Bernier was the favorite going into that election, Scheer won the leadership.

And it may be a good thing that Scheer denied Bernier the leadership of the party, considering the overt, anti-immigrant message associated with Bernier’s picture displayed on billboards across the country from Halifax to Vancouver.

Although Bernier was not directly responsible for the billboard ads, he said that he agrees with the message, “Say no to mass immigration,” a common, rightwing message of paranoia and exclusion.

Fortunately, most Canadians responded to the anti-immigration message with outrage, many insisting that Pattison Outdoor, the company that owns the billboards, take the ads down.

After some initial reluctance, Pattison did finally comply with the request and agreed to remove the ads.

If the divisive, fear-mongering ads did anything positive it was to prove that the, sentiments expressed by Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party of Canada, are not condoned by the actual people of Canada.

With the People’s Party of Canada polling at 4 percent just weeks before the federal election, it is possible that Maxime Bernier’s political future is already behind him.

The party has nowhere to go but up. However, when polling at 4 percent, any upward trend would need to be substantial before anyone need worry that Bernier and his anti-immigration message are gaining traction.

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