Does Bernier battle remind anyone of Mulroney-Bouchard rupture?

It takes a lot to get Conservative leader Andrew Scheer cheesed off, but this week, one of his MPs crossed the line.

“I have removed Maxime Bernier from the Official Opposition shadow cabinet, effective immediately,” Scheer stated in a short communiqué. “The shadow minister for science, Matt Jeneroux, will assume the additional role of shadow minister for innovation, science and economic development on an interim basis.”

Bernier’s transgression? Posting to his website a chapter from his forthcoming book, in which he claims Scheer won the Tory leadership with help from “fake Conservatives” recruited by the Quebec dairy lobby.   The chapter wasn’t new, but its location was. As Bernier posted on Twitter, “…The chapter on SM [supply management] posted on my website is THE SAME that was publicly available for weeks on my publisher’s website but was taken down when I decided to postpone the book indefinitely. There is nothing new, I did not “publish” it.”

True, but the problem is the timing. Bernier posted it mere days after Canada got into a tariff war with the United States, in which U.S. President Donald Trump launched numerous broadsides at Canada’s supply management system. This effectively placed Bernier in the same camp as Trump, who had just torn a strip off Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over his remarks about “not being pushed around” by the Americans. With even Scheer standing by Trudeau, it was the wrong time for Bernier to go offside.

There were, however, also some cries of outrage against Scheer. Aren’t Conservatives supposed to be the party of free speech? Didn’t Scheer and the Tories lambaste Trudeau for his “group-think” mentality on abortion? This is true, but cabinet is not caucus. When you’re in a cabinet, shadow or not, you sing from the same songbook as your colleagues, whatever your personal views. No matter how valid your argument (and for the record, Bernier is right that supply management is well past its best before date) if you contradict your leader, you will be shown the cabinet door.

Read the full article on iPolitics.

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