OTTAWA — Maverick Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, whose open defiance has been a major headache for the Opposition Conservatives, is quitting the party — and he’s not pulling his punches, stating that he will be forming a new federal party.
Bernier, who narrowly lost the Tory leadership to rival Andrew Scheer, says he feels the party has abandoned its true ideals by refusing to end corporate subsidies or abolish the supply management system for poultry and dairy products.
He made the bombshell announcement during a news conference on Parliament Hill.
“I have come to realize over the past year that this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed,” Bernier said as he read a statement that savaged both the party and its current leadership.
“The whole strategy of the party is to play identity politics, pander to various interest groups and buy votes with promises, just like the Liberals…. Andrew Scheer keeps talking about his “positive Conservative vision.” But nobody knows what that vision is.
“The Conservative Party has abandoned conservatives. It does not represent them anymore. And it has nothing of substance to offer Canadians looking for a political alternative.”
Scheer, who is in Halifax for the start of the Conservative policy convention, has a news conference of his own scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET.
Update: Andrew Scheer has responded to Bernier’s departure. Read his full statement here.