August 16, 2018 11:18 am
Updated: August 17, 2018 8:23 am

Here’s why Andrew Scheer isn’t kicking Maxime Bernier out of caucus

WATCH: The battle between the leader of Canada's Conservative party and his former rival is coming to a head. Four days after Maxime Bernier tweeted a critique of the Liberal Party's apparent "cult of diversity", Andrew Scheer has finally spoken out. Mike Le Couteur reports.

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Despite growing calls to kick Conservative MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, it seems Andrew Scheer’s hands are tied.

Multiple Conservative sources tell Global News there’s nothing the party leader can do to kick Bernier out after he posted repeatedly on Twitter attacking what he called the “cult of diversity” among the Liberals because of rules the caucus adopted in late 2015 which put the power to eject members from caucus in the hands of the caucus itself – not the leader, as is the case with the Liberals and NDP.

WATCH: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer not saying whether he’ll take any action against MP Maxime Bernier


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READ MORE: Maxime Bernier clarifies that he’s all for diversity in Canada – just not ‘more diversity’

Those rules, adopted following the passage of Conservative MP Michael Chong’s Reform Act in Parliament, state that any attempt to eject a member from caucus would need to win support from the majority of the caucus in a vote.

They only apply to members of the caucus in the House of Commons, which is why Scheer was able to remove Senator Lynn Beyak from caucus earlier this year over material she posted on her website that made disparaging remarks about Indigenous people.

So far, the sources say, no one in the caucus has been willing to put forward a vote and risk splitting the party.

However, they say Bernier is increasingly being viewed as a liability within the caucus.

WATCH BELOW: Controversial tweets trigger calls for Conservatives to boot Bernier

Both Liberal MP Arif Virani and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh have been among those calling both for his ejection from caucus and for Scheer to condemn his remarks.

His behaviour is also set to be discussed among caucus members at the Conservative national convention taking place next week in Halifax.

Bernier, who lost the Conservative leadership race to Scheer by a razor-thin margin, has put himself at odds with Scheer multiple times on policy issues ranging from supply management to speaking out against the existence of systemic racism and the so-called “extreme multiculturalism” of the Liberals.

READ MORE: Maxime Bernier slams Justin Trudeau’s ‘cult of diversity’ in Twitter rant

Most recently, Bernier launched a tweet storm on Sunday night attacking the dangers of adding “more diversity” to Canadian society.

He also argued that  “having people live among us who reject basic Western values” will lead to “cultural balkanization.”

Critics immediately blasted the MP from Beauce, Que., who then doubled down in defence of his argument.

WATCH BELOW: Conservative MP Bernier slams Trudeau’s “extreme multiculturalism”

That prompted Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel and Conservative MP Tony Clement, a personal friend of Bernier who backed his failed leadership bid, to also speak out and criticize his tweets.

“Mr. Bernier has latched onto diversity as if it’s a threat and that is false,” Clement wrote on Twitter.

“So long as we respect one another in a successful free democratic country, diversity is no threat. And I believe the great majority agree with this.”

But it took until Wednesday night for Scheer to issue his own condemnation — and sources within the party tell Global News that made him look “weak.”

“Maxime Bernier holds no official role in caucus and does not speak for the Conservative Party of Canada on any issue,” Scheer’s statement said.

“Personally, I disagree with politicians on the left and the right when they use identity politics to divide Canadians. I will not engage in this type of politics.”

WATCH BELOW: Maxime Bernier removed from Tory shadow cabinet

He went on to say that a Conservative government would continue to welcome immigrants and stressed the need to “ensure that Canada continues to be a place where people from all over the world can come to find a richer, freer more peaceful life.”

Scheer removed Bernier from his role as innovation critic for the party back in June.

That came after Bernier posted a chapter opposing supply management from a book he had written, which also included a claim that Scheer had only won the leadership because of support from “fake Conservatives,” who bought memberships to prevent any changes to the supply management system.

Publication was postponed in April.

Following his removal from the Conservative shadow cabinet, caucus members including MP Erin O’Toole suggested Bernier needed to take a good hard look in the mirror.

“I like Max a lot but I think Max needs to reflect on what it means to be part of a team,” O’Toole said.

“You have to put your own ambitions aside. I did that after the leadership. It was a tough leadership [race] but we’re all behind Andrew, and I think Max hasn’t committed to that.”

— With files from Global News’ Ottawa Bureau Chief Mercedes Stephenson

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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