Skip to main content

Conservative MPs are rallying around Leader Andrew Scheer’s decision to kick Maxime Bernier off the Tory front benches after the former leadership rival reposted his book excerpt opposing supply management.

After the party’s weekly caucus meeting on Wednesday, Tory MPs said Mr. Scheer made the right choice when he dropped Mr. Bernier as the party’s critic for innovation, science and social development, despite his strong following in the libertarian wing of the party.

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer makes his way past reporters as he leaves a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Conservative MP Erin O’Toole said Mr. Bernier, who came second to Mr. Scheer in last year’s leadership race with 49-per-cent support, broke a promise to caucus that he wouldn’t release his memoir until after he left politics.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s been hard for Max to leave the campaign behind, and I think it was a poor decision to release that chapter after he had told the whole team that he was shelving the book,” said Mr. O’Toole, who finished third in the leadership contest.

“It just showed that he was letting the team down.”

Although it “disappointed a number of us,” Mr. O’Toole said Mr. Bernier may find his way back at some point.

Conservative MP Tony Clement, who supported Mr. Bernier in the leadership contest, told reporters, “49 per cent is not good enough. To win the leadership you need 50 per cent plus one. Maxime Bernier knows that; the party knows that; everybody knows that.”

In April, Mr. Bernier postponed his book indefinitely after he released an advance chapter on supply management that riled fellow MPs when he suggested Mr. Scheer won the party leadership with the help of “fake Conservatives” from the Quebec dairy lobby. Mr. Bernier is vehemently opposed to supply management, a pricing-control system in which quotas are set to regulate production of products such as milk, eggs and poultry.

On June 5, Mr. Bernier released the chapter on his website amid a heated trade dispute between the Liberal government and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Mr. Bernier did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Story continues below advertisement

In a message to The Globe and Mail this week, Mr. Bernier said he uploaded the chapter online because it had been removed from his publisher’s website. “I simply posted it because it is not available anymore on the publisher’s website,” Mr. Bernier said.

“And some people were asking me where they could find it.”

In a tweet posted late on Tuesday, he added, “There is nothing new.”

Mr. Scheer won the party leadership in large part with the help of Quebeckers who strongly support supply management. As the federal government continues to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement with Mr. Trump, the Conservatives are arguing that Ottawa is willing to make concessions on the backs of the agricultural industry. However, Mr. Bernier’s opposition to the system threatened to undermine his party’s and Leader’s position on that front.

Mr. Clement said Mr. Bernier disobeyed caucus and Mr. Scheer “took a difficult but necessary decision.”

But he added that Mr. Bernier is still a member of the Conservative caucus and “very valued.”

Story continues below advertisement

“I think we should offer grace and compassion to people in this situation,” Mr. Clement said. “Max acknowledges it was the wrong decision.”’

In a brief scrum with reporters, Mr. Scheer said he won’t comment on internal caucus management issues.

“It’s essential that when members of our shadow cabinet make commitments to caucus, that those commitments are kept,” he said.

With a report from Daniel Leblanc in Ottawa

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter