OTTAWA – Maxime (Mad Max) Bernier says he doesn’t care if his rivals for the Conservative leadership rival make fun of his latest attempt at raising his profile.
The Conservative MP from Quebec posted a photo on his Instagram page on Tuesday of his face on the body of Mel Gibson’s character in the dystopian 1979 action flick, “Mad Max.”
Bernier, whose free-market policy positions have put him to the right of most of the other candidates, wrote in the caption “some people like to call me Mad Max like in the movie.”
“They may believe it’s an insult,” he continued, using exclamation points liberally, “but let me tell you something: It’s true. I am mad! I’m mad about government waste! I’m mad about government borrowing money on the backs of future generations, to benefit big corporations!”
Nick Kouvalis, one of the architects of ex-Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s election victory and a current strategist for one of Bernier’s opponents, MP Kellie Leitch, mocked him on Twitter.
“He’s mad,” Kouvalis tweeted, “Very mad. Intensely mad. Hot like the sun mad. Let’s all get mad together. Maple syrup cartels have put us over the edge.”
That comment referred to Bernier’s position that Quebec’s maple syrup production should no longer be controlled by a provincial association and should be opened up to the free market.
Bernier has also called for the end of Canada’s supply management system for dairy, eggs and poultry, the privatization of Canada Post and for the phasing-out of the CRTC as the country’s telecom regulator.
His attempt at photo editing isn’t the first time he has used a gag to get voters’ attention.
In his last election campaign, Bernier created a musical jingle that was also ridiculed.
The Tory leadership candidate told reporters Tuesday he was “absolutely not” put off by such criticism.
“When I broadcast my jingle during the last election campaign, everyone laughed,” he said.
“Today, if people laugh (at the photo) even better, but the message is getting through. And what’s important is that when people talk about it, they ask why he’s so angry, and so the message I want to send is getting out.”
The candidates vying to replace Stephen Harper meet for the first time for a debate on Nov. 9 in Saskatoon. There are five debates in total.
So far the candidates aside from Leitch and Bernier are Tony Clement, Michael Chong, Deepak Obhrai and Andrew Scheer.