Maxime Bernier

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Bernier in 2017. Doesn't represent real temperament. Disrection advised...
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Net effect of supporting Bernier could be four more years of Justin Trudeau
—John Ivison literally predicting the future, seconded by Pierre Poilievre[1]

Maxime "Mad Max" Bernier (1963–) is a Canadian businessman, lawyer and current leader of the People's Party of Canada. Bernier left the Conservative Party of Canada after failing to obtain a leadership position, which spiralled into a grudge match with Andrew Scheer, the new leader of the party.

Originally representing the libertarian bloc of his party, he went full on trendy mode and snapped into rigid populism by late 2017. Unfortunately, populism, especially right-libertarian nationalist populism, is a bit of a tough gig in Canada. Polling generally consistently shows that a majority of Canadians usually support current levels of immigration to the country and that they appreciate "the benefits newcomers bring to the economy".[2] But like anywhere, every few election cycles or so, people get grumpy. Enter Maxime Bernier. He should be seen as a cautionary tale as to why it may not be a great idea to start a new political party out of spite.

Because you will probably lose.

On the rails[edit]

Early life before politics[edit]

Maxime Bernier had the generally solid upbringing and career that one would expect of the son of a well-connected, well-known public figure in Quebec and in national Canadian politics. He went to law school, was called to the bar, yada yada. Nothing to see here basically.

Early political life[edit]

Bernier became the MP for the federal riding of Beauce as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada in 2006, a seat which he held until 2019 (more on that later). During these years, he fell in and out of favor with the CPC party leadership and was bounced in and out of cabinet portfolios but generally towed the party line and took "ones for the team", so to speak.

During his time as a cabinet minister, his most distinguished achievement was the time he left classified government documents at the apartment of his then-girlfriend Julie Couillard, who had ties to organized crime and biker gangs. He was bounced from cabinet in 2008 for the transgression, but was brought back in a more junior portfolio in 2011.[3]

2017 Conservative leadership run[edit]

Growing weary with the state of right wing politics in Canada, he decided to mix things up a bit and run for the leadership of CPC in 2017.[4] This is where things started to go slightly off the rails for him. Despite his overall eccentricity, he was the favoured candidate throughout the election period, winning ballot after ballot. He only lost in the final one against Andrew Scheer, the latter winning with 51% of the vote. Scheer would go on to lead the Party until 2020, initially placing Bernier in cabinet.[5]

Off the rails[edit]

Post-leadership election and formation of a new party[edit]

FOR THE PEOPLE!! Complete with a cult, and wacko mentality, AND founded on salt. What could go wrong??

The 2017 election: Close to be sure, but perhaps this slight edging out and upset victory for Scheer riled poor Maxime Bernier up; because for the rest of eternity, Bernier could never really get over this fact and he continually threw tantrums (and is still throwing them) at Scheer and just about everyone else soon after, telling them that he was taking his ball home.[6][7][8][9]

Utterly blowing his lid off, Bernier left the Conservative Party and in September of 2018, announced he was forming his own party, the new People's Party of Canada.[10] Already a terrible descent to make a populist-exclusive party in Canada, not everyone was excited as big old Max about this new move. Even Glorious Dear Leader Stephen Harper called him a sore loser.[11] Now that is just about as big an L as you can possibly obtain.

Not only did this prove Bernier's inexhaustable cave of salt was real, it then sparked the immense worry that the PPC would split the right-wing vote, when most Canadian conservatives (and those angry at Trudeau for the SNC Lavalin scandal) really wanted Trudeau gone. Not to mention the "Good, sensible, outspoken groups on social media" he inadvertently sparked up. Not a great start, putting it lightly.

2019 Canadian federal election and campaign[edit]

The PPC pledged to run a full slate of candidates in all of Canada's 338 ridings in the 2019 federal election. While commendable, this pledge led to many problems for the PPC, most of them played out in national media outlets, as Canadians tried to figure out where this new national political party suddenly came from.

After some investigating, reporting began to show that signatories to the party's formation documents, officially submitted to Elections Canada, included a "former leader of a U.S. neo-Nazi group, a former Soldiers of Odin member and a Pegida Canada official".[12] It happens I guess, the party, as expected, can chalk it up to "growing pains". Or something.

As the election played out, Canadians generally took little notice of the party, but somehow Bernier was allowed to participate in 2 nationally-broadcast leaders' debates. His performance in these contests was described as "more vandalism than art" by the Washington Post[13] and the only person in the Canadian political landscape generally supportive of this new party seemed to be Christie Blatchford[14] (for those outside of Canada, this is inching towards the Lauren Southern end of the scale).

But already unimpressive polls and bad press weren't enough for Maxime Bernier. Eager to prove his boundless mental obtuseness, Bernier did this:


It is SO obvious that Bernier thought of the brilliant idea to set these billboards up, but even this was a new peak of stupidity. He didn't even realise (or bare-face ignored) that Canada are fine with current immigration levels. Expectedly, not a while later, the Pattison Outdoor Advertising company took them back down due to the backlash.[15] Classically, he denounced the backlash on twitter as the "totalitarian leftist mob"[16] (Just like another Canadian guy does), and came up with a random two-thirds statistic for those agreeing with the message on the billboard, a complete asspull.[17]

BUT IT GETS BETTER! Those of comedy decided that they would fire back with either photoshop skills or sheer man power:

Mad Max clearly didn't pick up that the Republican days of Harper were long gone...

Election results[edit]

Bernier II (Rhino Party), the hero we had, but didn't deserve

Despite the vocality and ferocity of his Youtube/Twitter cult, Bernier was subdued in a single day by the Canadian populace. He lost his own seat to the very Conservative Party of Canada he defected from, logged an impressive 20 point drop from his 2015 election result, and no PPC candidate won more than four percent of the vote. Nationally, the Canadian Press wire service reported that the PPC received 1.6 percent of the national vote, or around 300,000 votes in total.[18] Although, 1.6% is still a serious waste of useful votes that could've contributed to Trudeau's removal. Utterly wasted.

You happy, Mad Max Bernier?

Rhino Party to the rescue[edit]

Seeing an opening to sagely comment on what Bernier had become, The Second Rhinoceros PartyWikipedia ran their candidate, also named Maxime Bernier, in Bernier's riding of Beauce. Neither Bernier won, but it should be noted that the Rhino's Bernier actually won 1.8% of the riding's vote total, besting the Peopleless Party of Canada's national percentage take.[19] This unto itself should hopefully serve as testament to this entire election shitshow caused by Bernier.

Post election activities[edit]

Bernier is still around, mostly posting things on Twitter it seems. But a lot of this stuff is hard to walk back from, especially not if you are STILL throwing temper tantrums, going as far as to call Erin O'Toole a fake conservative because you could not let the fuck go three years onward.[20]

And that serves to be the biggest lesson of all, that is, everything he has shown since getting even slightly angry. If anyone reading this aspires to hold national public office and have a semi-respectable public career, you should:

  • Accept your losses
  • NOT throw public temper tantrums
  • Realise your pent up frustration with a specific area may not be fully justified
  • NOT start a new political party out of spite (again)
  • NOT be so erratic that a figure as crazed as Harper comes out to put you in your place
  • Hand off your social media if you have no self-control
  • NOT create more personality cults (By Jebus, we have enough already)

Inexhaustive list. But the point is sold.

External links[edit]