Ignoring Bernier is bad advice.

It amuses me that people are telling Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer that former conservative MP Maxime Bernier is not a problem. That is bad advice. First of all, you have to ignore the pollsters who are having trouble measuring Bernier’s support. And then you have to understand the people who would support Bernier. Finally, you also need to understand that the People’s party does not have to elect a single MP to cause problems for Scheer’s conservatives.

Before getting into the whys though we should explain that Maxime Bernier came second to Andrew Scheer in the conservative sweepstakes a couple years ago because of the very stupid process they used to choose a leader. The conservatives used a preferential ballot to choose between 13 (final) candidates. People were actually asked to number their preference from one to thirteen. Then the computers just kept counting the ballots (dropping the candidate with the least votes) until somebody had a majority. It took every possible ballot to finally come up with Scheer, at a fraction over 50 per cent. The winner was Scheer because he was the least disliked candidate. Being the second least disliked hardly made Maxime Bernier a powerhouse in the conservative party.

Bernier is more of a libertarian than a conservative. Libertarians are extremists to the political right of Canadian conservatism. They are a strong segment of the party but would likely constitute less than 15 per cent of the general party membership. The former provincial wild rose party in Alberta was dominated by libertarian influence.

But where Maxime Bernier is a powerhouse is in The Beauce and the Quebec City region. Depending on how many people’s party candidates he can get in previously conservative ridings, he could cause the defeat of five or six conservatives in Quebec. There are not many opportunities for that in other parts of the country but in Alberta and B.C. where liberal votes will be hard to find, there will be throw away votes from both the right and the left and strange things can happen.

If the Trudeau liberals smarten up and start wooing voters instead of pissing them off, this election would not be such a string of question marks. As it is today, it would be very difficult to rationalize any form of majority government after Oct 21. The NDP are toast and the greens cannot believe their good luck. What will happen is anyone’s guess.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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