June 15, 2018 10:42 am

Roy Green: the re-assigning of Maxime Bernier

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 Saturday, May 27, 2017

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
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As an opinions broadcaster, I believe it is my responsibility to be clear with listeners about who I am, not only in the studio, but also away from the microphone.

Therefore, I state my conservative values openly.

When I subsequently challenge a political party which includes “Conservative” in its branding, that view is received by some as heretical.

So it has been over the past few days since Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, rescinded shadow cabinet responsibility and front-row status seating from now erstwhile caucus lieutenant Maxime Bernier, dispatching the popular Quebecois and runner-up in last year’s CPC leadership joust to the political Gulag.


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WATCH: Maxime Bernier removed from Tory shadow cabinet

Bernier’s newly assigned location will be a parliamentary seat from where only the back of Scheer’s head is visible.

Maxime Bernier’s offence? A chapter of his book critical of supply management had appeared on Bernier’s website. This was interpreted as disloyalty and a broken promise.

Bernier, during the leadership contest, claimed Scheer had signed up as party members fake conservative backers of supply management so he might overcome Bernier’s party boss challenge.

Bernier had also committed to not publish any part of his book indefinitely.

READ MORE: Was Scheer right in booting Bernier? ‘Absolutely,’ former rivals say, but urge caution

Bernier argued he had not broken a commitment. The very chapter that saw him drummed out of preferred CPC parliamentary seating had been visible on his publisher’s website for a number of weeks.

I believe Scheer overplayed his hand re Maxime Bernier and I tweeted my position, along with a poll question asking which of the two men would stand a better chance of defeating Trudeau in next October’s national vote. Result: Bernier 71 per cent, Scheer 29 per cent.

While tweets not responding to the poll also sided in large part with my challenge of Scheer’s decision to delete Maxime Bernier, I was accused of undermining the Conservative brand and of being unhelpful after a leadership race had been held and with conclusive results.

Another tweet called for conservatives to rally around Scheer and declared what happened to Bernier is the result of what happens when you “diss” the leader.

WATCH: Conservative Tony Clement gives heated defence of colleague Maxime Bernier

Except, I am not a member of the Conservative Party of Canada and I owe it no allegiance.  Scheer is not my leader and he is fair game for critical assessment.

The vast majority of Canadians who will vote next year will do so with no political party affiliation.

Scheer and Bernier have appeared on my program on previous occasions, and I have, through Twitter, invited both men to return separately either this Saturday or Sunday.

Will they? Perhaps not. There are risks for politicians entering unscripted, no-questions-in-advance, talk radio.

If we’re not speaking with Mr. Scheer and Monsieur Bernier directly, we will certainly be speaking about them this weekend.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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