EDITORIAL: Bernier’s new party a dead end

It’s hard to say what Maxime Bernier thinks he’s going to accomplish with his new party, revealed on Friday as the People’s Party of Canada.

Will it be just a flash-in-the-pan fringe party? Will he successfully field a slate of 338 candidates in new year’s federal election, and even win seats?

The 1988, federal campaign saw Preston Manning’s Reform Party appear on the ballot but fail to win a single seat. The next time around in 1993 Reform won 52 seats and won Official Opposition status in 1997 by electing 60 MPs.

Things were very different then. Manning’s grievance with the federal Progressive Conservatives, Brian Mulroney and pretty much everyone else in Ottawa was that they were too focused on Quebec and they took the West for granted.

Bernier’s argument is a very different one. “I have come to realize over the past year that this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed,” he said on Aug. 23 when announcing his resignation from the Conservative Party of Canada.

Talk about overkill. Morally corrupt?!

The popular libertarian politician is clearly frustrated Andrew Scheer and the rest of the party are not opposing supply management and not speaking out more aggressively about other issues dear to philosophical conservatives.

But politics isn’t a high school debating society. It’s about making the lives of ordinary people better and accomplishing change together.

A big tent ensures diverse views that reflect the interests of a majority of supporters. It’s what made Conservatives successful after Reform morphed into the Canadian Alliance and the Alliance in 2003 merged with a reformed Conservative Party of Canada. It’s what has made the Liberal Party successful.

The Conservatives are now offering an alternative to the troubled, divisive and fiscally reckless Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Scheer’s challenge will be to convince Canadians growing jobs and the economy, maintaining a stable and mature relationship with our major trading partner and prudently managing the nation’s finances is a better path than heaping unsustainable debt on future generations and the chaos caused by Trudeau’s activist, virtue-signalling and ideologically intolerant government.

Bernier’s party is ultimately an answer in search of a problem.

It’s a path that ends in a dead end, as Conservatives should have learned from the past.

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