Conservatives' reaction typical of losers, Maxime Bernier says
Published Friday, August 24, 2018 12:20PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 24, 2018 5:06PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Newly independent MP Maxime Bernier says the personal attacks on his character by his former Conservative colleagues are typical of losers.
In an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period, to be aired at 2:30 p.m. EST on Bell Media stations, Bernier says the party knows most conservatives agree with him.
"They know that and they don't have the courage to do these reforms. They don't have the courage to speak about that. And they cannot fight me on real issues," Bernier said on the Evan Solomon Show.
"Now they're going to personal attacks. It's typical of a loser. The losers are doing that. They don't want to have real debate."
Bernier surprised the Canadian political world Thursday when he announced he was leaving the federal Conservatives to start his own party.
The Quebec MP's relationship with the Conservatives had grown increasingly tense, leading this week to his caucus colleagues telling him through the media to pick a side. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had warned that the caucus should be working together. The comments were thought to be directed at Bernier.
"There is an expectation in our caucus, and on our team, that everyone is focused on working together to earn back the trust of Canadians and to replace Justin Trudeau as prime minister in the next election," Scheer said a week before Bernier quit.
In an interview with CTV News Channel, Bernier said he spoke to Elections Canada Friday morning about setting up the new party. He said he wants to do all the paperwork as soon as possible, and that he's asking for suggestions for the new party's name.
Bernier plans to have a candidate in each of Canada's 338 ridings in time for the election next fall.
The new party will take priority over the book the former Conservative leadership contender had planned to write, he said.
"When I decided to postpone the publication of my book indefinitely, at that time the book wasn't finished," Bernier said in an interview with CTV News.
"For me right now the book is not a priority. I think the priority must be the manifesto of the party. So I'm not working on the book anymore. I'm working on the party."
It was the release of one of the book's chapters that sent the dispute between Bernier and Scheer crashing into public view last April. Bernier's publisher released his chapter on supply management, a system that lets Canadian dairy and poultry farmers control the supply of their goods to keep prices at a target level, to the Globe and Mail. In the chapter, Bernier accused Scheer of pandering to dairy farmers and accused him of signing up "fake Conservatives."
Bernier had promised to put the book on hold, but then posted the chapter on his website, arguing it had already been released so he wasn't publishing it. Scheer retaliated by revoking his industry critic portfolio.