Maxime Bernier’s new party drives wedge between conservatives

Conservatives here in Kamloops talk about the launch of Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada

Maxime Bernier has never been one to shy away from media and public controversy. This past month was no exception with the launch of his new federal party, the People’s Party of Canada.

From an ex-girlfriend associated with the Hells Angels to criticizing Trudeau’s “cult of multiculturalism,” Bernier has found himself with a target on his back from all sides.

This polarization has naturally lent itself to the feelings of people who identify as right-of-centre, after announcing his new party. The Omega sat down with Andrew Sahaydak, leader of TRU’s Conservative Association Club and Robert Younger, a long time right-winger. They both identify as part of the Canadian right, yet they have two very different views about this new party. We interviewed them to understand this ideological split.

What are your general thoughts about the split?

Andrew Sahaydak: “I was shocked when I first saw it, shocked and interested in his mentality. On a few of his principles, I do agree with him but I don’t think the timing of this split was in the best interest of the party and the in the best interest of Canadians. Particularly those that are fighting for a stronger economy. As Canadians, I don’t think we can afford to be divided against the Liberal machine.”

Robert Younger: “I think that our society, in general, has gone too far to the left. I think there should be questions asked that are not being talked about in our highest levels of government and Maxime Bernier does that, he’s not afraid to go against what people are saying, to be controversial.”

There’s been a lot of talk about vote splitting – do you think this new party will split the Canadian right?

AS: “You’ll notice that no one else from the conservative caucus defected with him. I think if anything this People’s Party of Canada is making us more united as Conservatives to one statement, to one tent and to get our message across.”

RY: “I think Bernier will get votes from the left. I think there are legitimate left-wing concerns about the economy that aren’t being addressed. The Conservative Party has time and time again done nothing to go after the legitimate issues Canadians face. I have a feeling that the Conservative Party is just as corrupt as the Liberal Party.”

Bernier has said he would defund the CBC if he were prime minister. What are your thoughts on that?

AS: “I think it’s not a question of removing funding from the CBC. I think it could be used in a more effective manner. There have been talks within the political circles of moving towards something like the United States has with the PBS style. I think we should look at the funding and the deficiencies to tighten things up.”

RY: “I agree with that policy because, in the last election, everyone crucified Stephen Harper. Don’t get me wrong I fucking hate Harper as much as everyone else, for the fact that he basically didn’t seem to be in touch with modern issues, he seemed so quiet he wouldn’t want to get involved in more pressing modern issues. I think the media has so much power and that’s evident with the hyper left-wing opinions that are there, which are also what is being taught at the universities as true and the objective truth. People are being sold that the media’s opinion is the truth. I think it’s wrong.”

His immigration policy has received a lot of heat. He wants to move from accepting refugees to a focus on economic migrants while reducing the overall number of immigrants back to Harper levels of 150,000 per year.

AS: “I think we need to look at our numbers in comparison to other countries. The focus should still be migrants who are coming from places of destruction. We should not be so inclined to accept people who demonstrated they’re fine. We should be more inclined to accept the ones in the photos who seem to be in the most danger.”

RY: “The refugee situation is public funds shouldn’t be given to other people’s problems. It’s not a matter of race. The only reason people make it about race is so they can shut down the conversation. It’s sensitive right now, it wasn’t sensitive five years ago.”