Bernier’s departure from the Conservative Party of Canada was bitter and from most appearances self-serving. The timing spoke to a planned effort to cause the most disruption possible for Scheer as he began the CPC convention in Halifax. There is little doubt as well that much of Bernier’s motivation is driven by sour grapes after having been handed a leadership loss to Scheer by the narrowest of margins. Some second place finishers can handle remaining within the party to try again another day and some simply can’t. We don’t need to wonder where Bernier lands now.
Scheer covered pretty much all of the above when he responded to Bernier’s exit.
Things could have been left at that. A man was embittered and he parted ways with the party in an explosive way. Life goes on and the party moves forward. Unfortunately the Conservative Party of Canada then moved into their convention and seemed to almost purposely work to prove some of Maxime Bernier’s contentions correct.
Christopher Bataluk summed it up excellently in the tweet below:
What I am getting at is the party’s unwavering support for Canada’s Soviet style supply management system due to Andrew Scheer cutting a deal with the dairy cartel in order to win the party leadership.
It is no secret that Scheer sold his political soul to Canada’s supply management lobby in order to win the leadership with a tiny margin. Scheer even gallingly joked about the deal at the press gallery dinner this year as he guzzled milk for the crowd.
Look, I understand how politics works and understand that deals get cut.
At some point though a leader has to choose between well funded minority lobbying interests and the interests of the party and the nation. The only principle we are seeing out of Scheer right now is that when Scheer gets bought, he stoically stays bought.
Supply management is undoubtedly one of the worst and outdated economic policies in Canada. There is utterly no reasonable defense of the policy from a fiscally conservative perspective and any conservative trying to defend the policy is either delusional or to be frank, full of shit. The dairy cartel has been incredibly effective in lobbying for this rotten policy that rips off all Canadians (particularly low income ones) to the point where a “conservative” leader won’t even show shame in protecting it.
A proposal to debate ending support for supply management was to be presented to the Conservative Party of Canada’s membership yesterday. The party blatantly killed the proposal before members could even debate it much less vote on it.
I am familiar with these tactics. I was VP of policy with the Wildrose Party for multiple terms. If we wanted to make sure that a controversial policy didn’t actually make it to the floor this is exactly the sort of thing we would do. It gives the impression that the policy was addressed while not actually letting it get into open discussion where there is potential for embarrassment. We did this with policy proposals that were crazy or offensive however, not with ones contrary to the very core of conservative principles such as supply management.
The bottom line is that if the CPC wanted to let members debate supply management at their convention, they would have. They purposely buried the proposal despite it being a big news item lately which is causing our entire nation untold grief with NAFTA negotiations.
The only reason to bury this debate was solely to protect Scheer’s deal with the Canadian dairy cartel.
Within hours of killing any debate on supply management, Scheer was in attendance with his masters at a reception. They surely patted him on the head and promised more dollars for future campaigns.
It is through this sort of action that Bernier will not be going away. It is in proving that there is intellectual dishonesty within the party that Bernier will be able to capture supporters and donors with his fledgling party. Bernier could have been shepherded into the political sunset but instead Scheer chose to empower him through his dogged support for the lobby that bought his leadership.
No, I do not support Bernier nor am I calling for people to get behind his new party. I am however disgusted with the behavior of the CPC under Scheer right now and through these actions he very likely ensured that we will have another term of Trudeau.
Let’s face it, Scheer has demonstrated all of the political charm and hype of an over ripe eggplant so far. Most of the nation couldn’t pick him out of a lineup and his chances of dethroning Trudeau next year were already rather limited to say the least. If Scheer is to win the next general election, it will be by the most narrow of margins. That will be pretty much impossible if Bernier is taking 10% or so out of him in select ridings throughout Canada and Scheer just gave Bernier a great wedge issue to work with.
We can and should be upset with how Bernier has done things.
We shouldn’t forget however that through his unwavering loyalty to the dairy cartel that Scheer has turned Bernier from a lone malcontent into a potential leader of a spoiler party in the next election.
Scheer could have defused this by simply letting members debate the policy. If supply management went down, he could shrug and say it was the will of the members.
Unfortunately Scheer chose instead to remain firmly bought.