Maxime Bernier has officially launched the People’s Party of Canada.
In a press conference Friday morning in Ottawa, the Beauce MP who left the Conservative Party last month, unveiled the name of his new conservative party and vowed it will be competitive in time for the 2019 federal election.
“Why this name? Because it’s time the Canadian government put Canadian people first when they make decisions and policies. he said, noting the party will be headquartered in Gatineau, Que.
“No one is speaking for the people.”
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Bernier said his new party has raised about $140,000 in the three weeks since he left his former party and vowed to start his own.
That fundraising amount comes despite the fact his new party cannot yet issue tax receipts to donors.
His move came following a tumultuous year that saw Bernier repeatedly at odds with Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, to whom he narrowly lost the party leadership race last year and who he accused of having won only due to “fake Conservatives” who Bernier said bought memberships to protect supply management.
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Bernier said the focus of the party will be fighting for individual responsibility and will oppose government intervention.
He also highlighted the “migrant crisis” as one of the major issues the main political parties now are not paying enough attention to and said politicians need to “open the debate” and ask what Canada will look like in 20 years.
Last month, Bernier made headlines after posting a thread of tweets opposing “more diversity” in Canada.
In response to a question from reporters on Friday, Bernier said he takes pride in the fact that so many people want to come to Canada but said in order to keep it that way, “Canadian values” need to be protected.
“I’m proud of that,” he said of the desire of people to come to Canada.
“What I’m saying is all the people coming to Canada, they were coming because of our Canadian values, so we must put the focus on that … I want to be sure people will come in the future and they will always share Canadian values.”
WATCH BELOW: Maxime Bernier announces new party
When asked how he defines, “Canadian values,” Bernier said it came down to “respecting the diversity of people, the rule of law, equality before the law, equality between men and women. Those are the shared values and we must promote that.”
So far, there are only two people on the party payroll.
Bernier said an announcement will be coming in the next few weeks to announce a full party executive team.
He said the plan is for the party to have candidates in all 338 ridings in time for the upcoming election on October 21, 2019.