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Politics

After labelling Greta Thunberg ‘mentally unstable,’ Maxime Bernier calls her ‘brave’

WATCH ABOVE: Aug. 26: Anti-immigration billboards featuring Maxime Bernier have been taken down after public outcry about the controversial message. Bernier says he agrees with the message but didn't commission the billboards. Morganne Campbell has more.

Maxime Bernier didn’t mean to “denigrate” Greta Thunberg or anyone who deals with her condition when he called her “clearly mentally unstable” in a tweet on Monday.

So said the leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) in a series of additional tweets that were posted on Wednesday afternoon.

WATCH: Aug. 25 — PPC leader Maxime Bernier launches party’s national campaign

PPC leader Maxime Bernier launches party’s national campaign
PPC leader Maxime Bernier launches party’s national campaign

Bernier said he “received a lot of criticism for a tweet where I was mentioning the mental health problems that Greta Thunberg herself and her mother publicly discussed.

“My goal was absolutely not to denigrate her or whoever deals with these conditions.”

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Bernier went on to say that Thunberg is a “brave young woman who has been able to overcome her problems and deserves our admiration for that.”

“I wanted to show that the choice of influential groups and the media to make her a spokesperson for climate alarmism is not innocent,” he said.

READ MORE: Maxime Bernier calls teen climate activists ‘mentally unstable’

He went on to say that certain groups are using Thunberg as a “pawn” and a “shield to prevent any criticism of the message.

“I should have expressed this argument without referring directly to her personal situation,” Bernier added.

WATCH: July 24 — People’s Party of Canada leader says he supports Canada’s distinct sense of multiculturalism

People’s Party of Canada leader says he supports Canada’s distinct sense of multiculturalism
People’s Party of Canada leader says he supports Canada’s distinct sense of multiculturalism

The PPC leader did, indeed, face heavy backlash for his tweet on Monday, in which he also said that Thunberg is “not only autistic, but obsessive-compulsive, eating disorder, depression and lethargy, and she lives in a constant state of fear. She wants us to feel the same; ‘I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I do every day.'”

He went on to allege that “green leftists” want people to focus on Thunberg’s feelings in order to “prevent any debate on the radical ideology she is pushing.”

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READ MORE: Anti-immigration billboard featuring Maxime Bernier will be taken down, company says

Thunberg gained prominence earlier this year after inspiring scores of students to skip school in order to spur action on climate change.

Her profile has only grown since then — she recently travelled to the United Nations Climate Summit aboard a yacht for two weeks in order to avoid taking a plane.

WATCH: Aug. 28 — Greta Thunberg arrives in New York City after completing journey across Atlantic

Greta Thunberg arrives in New York City after completing journey across Atlantic
Greta Thunberg arrives in New York City after completing journey across Atlantic

In the course of raising awareness of climate change, she has also opened up about having Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that can mean a person has difficulty in social situations, as well as a particular set of interests, according to Autism Speaks Canada.

She tweeted in August, “I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm.

“And — given the right circumstances — being different is a superpower.”

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