Maxime Bernier, the best candidate for 2019 and the future of the Conservative Party of Canada.

With roughly a week until the Conservative Leadership Convention – which will result in the election of one of thirteen candidates to the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada – a clear explanation of Modern Conservative Journal’s endorsement of Maxime Bernier seems appropriate.

Mr Bernier, who is currently the member of parliament for the riding of Beauce, Quebec, is widely considered to be the frontrunner. And, in the opinion of this journal, for good reason. While serving as the MP for Beauce for over ten years, Bernier has also held the portfolios of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Industry, and Minister of State, making any criticism regarding a lack of experience preposterous.

In policy, Maxime Bernier passes ‘the Buckley Rule,’ which advocates that Conservatives support “the rightward most viable candidate.” Mr Bernier is certainly the rightward most candidate in the race, and he is most certainly viable.

Maxime Bernier is in strict opposition to a national carbon tax, wishes to abolish interprovincial trade barriers (which cost Canada’s economy roughly $130 billion each year in inefficiency), eliminate corporate welfare, pursue free trade deals emphatically, and lower the corporate tax from 15% to 10%. He also advocates removing the Federal government from the area of healthcare and instead transferring tax points to provinces, balancing the Federal budget within two years, abolishing the capital gains tax, and shrinking the the income taxes to two brackets: $15,000-$100,000 and $100,000+.

Most refreshing are Maxime Bernier’s positions on supply management, the CRTC, and Canada Post. His opposition to the CRTC is grounded in a respect and promotion of free market competition, as is his proposition to privatize Canada Post. Despite being from a rural Quebec riding, Bernier has held no punches back throughout the campaign when it came to his position on supply management. Bernier is the only candidate of the 13 person leadership race willing to attack the sacred cow of Conservatives – rural farmers and their monopoly on milk, eggs, and other dairy products. Bernier would follow the Australian model of slowly phasing out supply management, and allow for a freer dairy market in Canada.

Bernier reconciles his ‘tough love’ approach when it comes to supply management with a number of policies aimed at improving rural life and restoring political authority to smaller, more rural communities across Canada. Lowering the farm tax from 15% to 10%, reducing grain commission fees, and lowering restrictions on firearms across Canada, are among his policies. By extending the length of firearms licenses from 5 years to 10, repealing magazine restrictions, and classifying firearms law in Parliament rather than through police forces, Bernier advocates a number of positions attractive to rural Canadians who have been long since abandoned by Federal governments.

Maxime Bernier is also the candidate for “a more decentralized Federalism,” which would give authority to diverse communities throughout Canada, and take it away from a government in Ottawa that advocates a ‘one size fits all’ solution to every problem. From his website:

“Federal governments have dabbled in healthcare and education. Provincial governments have constructed barriers to the free flow of goods and services between provinces. And all levels of government have needlessly overreached into the lives of Canadians. This must stop. Politicians must respect the Constitution. This is the right plan.”

It is safe to say that as Prime Minister, Maxime Bernier would move authority on issues away from the Federal government, and give it to Provinces, Cities, and individual Canadians.

Bernier, however, is not without his flaws – chief among them, an electability one. In 2008, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernier left secretive foreign policy documents in a girlfriend’s home; a woman who had past connections to the motorcycle gang, the Hell’s Angels. He eventually resigned his portfolio, however, the issue is still a stain on his record to many Canadians. Furthermore, as a Quebecois Canadian, some voters doubt his ability to appeal to Canadians in Ontario, Alberta, B.C., and the maritimes. As a Quebecer from a rural community, some even doubt his ability to secure his seat as a result of his position on supply management.

Despite these problems, Bernier is still thought to be one of the most electable candidates in the race. Besides, regardless of electability, Bernier is most likely to benefit the Conservative Party of Canada in the long run – by pulling it to the Right, and forcing it to embrace the principles that it claims to believe in, namely freedom, fairness, equality, and respect.

 

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