Maxime Bernier is no un-elected fringe misfit leading a bunch of kooks.
He was first elected as Member of Parliament for Beauce, Quebec in 2006 … and has been re-elected by a wide margin by the people of his riding several times since.
Bernier served as Minister of Industry, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper..
After the Conservatives lost the 2015 election, he served as Opposition critic for Innovation, Science and Economic Development in the shadow cabinet of acting leader Rona Ambrose and then new leader Andrew Scheer.
In fact, in 2017, Bernier even LED Scheer in 12 rounds of voting for the new leader of the Conservative Party, before losing to Scheer in the 13th round … still capturing more than 49% of the delegates’ votes.
Bernier clearly has enjoyed proven popularity with a fairly wide national political base.
Since last September, after breaking with Scheer and the Tories, Bernier has led a new party … the People’s Party of Canada … that has already nominated 314 candidates right across the country for the 338 seats in the upcoming Oct 21 federal election.
The People’s Party policies are seen by many (including me) as too-far right wing, ultra nationalist and even xenophobic … but that should be no reason to deny Bernier a podium in the two national election debates (one in English and one in French) that will take place Oct. 7 and Oct. 10.
The People’s Party IS a legitimate party, with a sitting MP as leader.
Blog readers may recall that, in 2011, when Green Leader Elizabeth May was fighting for a podium in the Election Debates back then, I supported her right to take part. (You can read that post here: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/election-debate-separatists-in-greens-out/)
She did not get to participate that time, but the outrage over her being sidelined helped deliver her an election victory as the Greens first MP … and her ONE seat gave her a voice in both Election Debates in 2015.
The party is now polling at over 10% nationwide .. and has grown both federally and provincially.
Canada’s broadcasters should have learned a lesson: the “people” WANT more choice, more ideas, more democracy.
And although Bernier has, so far, been refused a place on the stage, taking part in BOTH the English AND French debates will be Yves-Francois Blanchet. Who??
He’s the leader of the Bloc Quebecois … a party running candidates ONLY in Quebec.
How can an ELECTED MP leading a registered federal party running candidates right across the nation be denied a debate voice in a national election debate … but the leader of a party running candidates in only one province be invited to take part ????
The “rules” governing WHO gets to take part in the debate were made by the establishment (media, corporate, political) to protect and serve the establishment … not expose the voters to new ideas, policies, potential leaders … even one repeatedly elected.
It sure looks to me like the “fix” is in to stifle the People’s Party right wing nationalist message.
The People’s Party is right now scoring just over three per cent in CBC’s national poll tracker. Who knows what exposure for the party’s message in the debates could do!
Ask Elizabeth May.
(This will be a very close, critical federal election: I invite ALL readers to participate in the discussions on here and to pass along to friends and family the link to each blog piece to encourage a full discussion of issues and ideas before they vote Oct 21.
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