‘I am not a communist’: Maxime Bernier doubles down on People’s Party name amid criticism
Maxime Bernier said his new conservative party — the People’s Party of Canada — has nothing to do with communism, but about putting the “power back in the people.”
This comes after the leader of Canada’s Libertarian Party, Tim Moen called the name of Bernier’s party “a bit too left wing for me” and described Bernier’s policies as “milquetoast” and not daring enough.
“Everyone who knows me, they know that I am not a socialist. I am not a communist,” Bernier said in an interview with Global News’ Morning Show on Wednesday.
“It’s a name … the People’s Party, I am working for the people and we want to put the power back in people.”
Although criticizing the name of Bernier’s party, Moen has also reportedly said he may be interested in merging parties. However, Bernier said it will not happen.
WATCH: Maxime Bernier announces formation of People’s Party of Canada
“It’s not the first time the Libertarian Party wanted to have me as their leader. As you may remember at the end of their leadership they offered me their party, I said no at that time and I am saying no right now also,” Bernier said.
Bernier left the Conservatives last month after feuding with the party’s leader, Andrew Scheer, for more than a year over issues like supply management (something the Beauce MP is fiercely against).
Bernier told Global News that he wants to end the “cartel of supply management that is putting at risk 20 per cent of the economy right now with the negotiations with NAFTA.”
Since announcing last month that he would be forming a new party, none of his former Conservative colleagues has joined him, but Bernier said he isn’t worried — as that will change in a few weeks.
“I had a lot of support from the members of the Conservative Party at the last leadership [race], I had 49 per cent of the vote, so I had a lot of support from the grassroots,” Bernier said.
“But for the Members of Parliament, I won’t try and have their support for now. I will concentrate to build this party and to be sure to be the alternative to Justin Trudeau in 2019.”
He said in a few weeks from now he will have a press conference in order to tell the public more about the structure of his party.
WATCH: Maxime Bernier believes he can win next federal election
Bernier vowed the People’s Party of Canada would be competitive in time for the 2019 federal election. But when asked how he expects to compete with the Liberals and Conservatives, Bernier said: “the money is coming in.”
Bernier said he’s raised around $140,000 in a month (the Liberals reportedly spent a little more than $40 million during the 2015 campaign).
“People are giving money to our party because they believe in our ideas so I am pretty confident that we will be competitive,” he said.
WATCH: Bernier says Conservatives siding with Trudeau on supply management
“It’s a provincial jurisdiction … it is in the constitution and if a politician wants to use it they will use it, but they will also have the political risk of using it,” Bernier said, adding that “he does not want to interfere.”
When asked if he would use it, he said: “It is never the first priority to use it, but if we need to use it, it is in the constitution and we have the right to use it.”
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