Bernier loses sight of end game with whiny, divisive book

Don’t cry over spilled milk.

It’s one of the cardinal rules in politics, particularly when you lose an election. What’s done is done: best to move on with grace, even if you still seethe in silence, and wait for the next opportunity to reenter the fray.

Unless you are Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, that is.

Ten months after losing the party’s leadership to Andrew Scheer, the tears are apparently still flowing, and have pooled in the pages of a new book scheduled to be released a year ahead of the next federal election. In Doing Politics Differently: My Vision for Canada, Bernier writes that Scheer won due to “fake Conservatives” signed up from the dairy industry.

“Andrew, along with several other candidates, was then busy touring Quebec’s agricultural belt, including my own riding of Beauce, to pick up support from these fake Conservatives, only interested in blocking my candidacy and protecting their privileges,” writes Bernier.

It is no secret that many milk producers opposed Bernier’s stance on supply management, a cartel-like system that artificially maintains high prices and incomes for farmers while restricting supply and increasing costs for consumers. During the leadership, Bernier repeatedly railed against the policy, with predictable results: the dairy lobby signed up scores of members for Scheer, who went on to win by the slimmest of margins.  “Interestingly, one year later, most of them have not renewed their memberships and are not members of the party anymore,” Bernier sourly observes.

Actually, this information is not that interesting at all. Nor is it surprising. The use of special interest groups to win leaderships has a long and infamous tradition in all parties, at all levels of government.  Whether you’re signing up youth with a pledge to legalize pot (hello, Justin Trudeau), or particular ethnic communities with a promise to oppose sex-ed curriculum changes (come on down, Patrick Brown), political organizers will recruit lots of one-issue instant members who vanish after the vote is over.

Read the full article on iPolitics.

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