Speech: Let’s end business subsidies

16 November 2015 · 6 comments   

Speech at Conservative Party of Quebec convention: Let’s end business subsidies

Maxime Bernier
Quebec City, November 14, 2015


Dear Quebec Conservative friends,

It gives me great pleasure to be with other Conservatives here in Quebec City, in the most Conservative region in all of Quebec!

As a Member of Parliament, I of course do not get involved in provincial politics. I also know that there are people who share our principles in other provincial parties.

But all those who want to get involved in a true Conservative party, a party that does not defend conservative principles only half of the time or a quarter of the time, but all of the time, are here today, with the Conservative Party of Quebec.

I know your leader very well. Adrien and I were both involved with the Montreal Economic Institute. Adrien is someone who truly understands conservative principles, someone who is not afraid to defend them openly.

After half a century during which the Quebec government experienced continual growth, half a century during which Quebec was the Canadian champion of economic intervention, the champion of debt accumulation, the champion of costly and overly bureaucratic programmes, the champion of high taxes, it is now more crucial than ever to have another voice. A consistent, confident, full-time conservative voice.


Speech: A Time for Choosing

6 April 2015 · 1 comment   

A Time for Choosing

Maxime Bernier, minister of State, Small Business and Tourism, Agriculture
Manning Networking Conference
March 7, 2015, Ottawa


Thank you Catherine for those kind words. And also a big thanks to the Manning Centre for inviting me.

This is such an amazing opportunity to meet like-minded friends from across the country and to recharge our batteries with lots of good ideas from the best minds in the conservative movement.

I hope you have been taking advantage of the conference, because this year is a crucial year for our country.

It will be a time for choosing: stability or uncertainty… a consolidation of the gains we have achieved over the past several years, which have made Canada one of the soundest economies in the world… or gambling with superficially appealing but reckless policies.

This is the choice that Canadians will have to make before the end of the year, and we have to make sure that it will be clear in everyone’s mind what kind of policies are best for Canadians.

But before we get into this debate, I want to rewind the tape a little bit. I want to talk about the “coolest” decade of the 20th Century: the 1970s!! You remember the 1970s?

I think I can spot some people in this room who are old enough like me to remember the 1970s: the decade of disco! With Donna Summer, the Bee Gees and Saturday Night Fever. The decade of men in jumpsuits with long hair! Can you imagine me like that?!!

On the economic front, it was not cool! It was the decade of stagflation: economic stagnation with inflation. The decade of big deficits and huge debt. The decade of the National Energy Program. The decade when the federal government was growing like wildfire. The decade when we had all these brilliant federal politicians and bureaucrats who were not busy enough running the federal government; they also wanted to run the provinces.

The decade of federal intervention in health care and education. The decade of centralisation and nationalisation. The decade when, partly in reaction to that federal activism, Separatism in Québec grew and grew, when the PQ became the official opposition in 1970, formed the government in 1976 and held its first referendum in 1980.

I can feel a wave of nostalgia in the room for that blessed period! Yes, the 1970s: the decade of Pierre Elliot Trudeau.


Press Review: How to reclaim our place within Canada

25 May 2014 · Comment   

My speech from last week on “How to reclaim our place in Canada” generated several reports, columns and editorials. Here are some of the main ones in both languages:

Regys Caron, “Ottawa wants Quebec to wean off equalization,” Sun News, May 20, 2014.

Melanie Marquis, “Trudeau would reignite Quebec’s sovereignty flames, Maxime Bernier says,” The Canadian Press, May 20, 2014.

Allan Woods, “Maxime Bernier urges Quebecers to embrace Canada,” Toronto Star, May 20, 2014.

Rhéal Séguin, “Oliver sees chance for economic reform in Quebec’s new government,” The Globe and Mail, May 20, 2014.

Andrew Coyne, “Maxime Bernier hammers home truths about Quebec,” National Post, May 21, 2014.

Barry Wilson, “Maxime Bernier’s common sense for Quebec,” CTV New Montreal, May 23, 2014.

Stéphane Dion, “Why Maxime Bernier is consistently wrong,” Huffington Post Canada, May 22, 2014.

Editorial, “Slurs taint Conservative plea to Quebecers to embrace federalism,” Toronto Star, May 22, 2014.

Joël-Denis Bellavance, « Le Québec doit cesser de ‘quêter’, dit Maxime Bernier », La Presse, 20 mai 2014.

Alain Laforest, « Propos de Maxime Bernier : Le Québec se défend de «quémander », TVA Nouvelles, 20 mai 2014.

Alain Laforest, « Ottawa demande au Québec de lui réclamer moins d’argent », TVA Nouvelles, 20 mai 2014.

Martin Croteau, « Levée de boucliers contre la sortie de Maxime Bernier », La Presse, 20 mai 2014.

Guillaume Bourgault-Côté, « L’anglais fait partie de l’identité québécoise, dit Maxime Bernier », Le Devoir, 20 mai 2014.

La Presse canadienne, « Québec doit cesser de « quémander » à Ottawa, selon Maxime Bernier », Radio-Canada, 20 mai 2014.

André Pratte, « M. Bernier a raison », La Presse, 21 mai 2014.

Stéphane Dion, « Un mauvais goût idéologique », La Presse, 22 mai 2014.

Pierre Jury, « Bernier et le Québec », Le Droit, 21 mai 2014.

Maxime Laporte, « On peut se passer aussi bien de sa démagogie que de ses Jos Louis », Le Soleil, 25 mai 2014.

Guillaume Bourgault-Côté, « Maxime Bernier, un penseur apprécié », Le Devoir, 24 mai 2014.

Johanne Marcotte, « À Maxime Bernier : Vous ne me choquez pas du tout! », Le blogue de Joanne Marcotte, 20 mai 2014.

How to reclaim our place within Canada

20 May 2014 · 1 comment   

This is the text of the speech I delivered this morning in Montreal before an audience of the Regroupement des jeunes chambres de commerce du Québec.

How to reclaim our place within Canada

Maxime Bernier, MP for Beauce

As was probably the case for many of you, when I reflected on the results of Quebec’s April 7 election, I got the sense that Quebec had reached a turning point in its history. Following a campaign haunted by the spectre of another referendum, the Parti québécois suffered its worst defeat since 1970 and the two federalist parties took home two thirds of the vote. Once again, Quebecers clearly rejected separation and embraced a stable future within the Canadian confederation.

Since the election, the media has devoted a lot of space to the uncertain future of the Parti québécois, and how it might bring young people back into the fold. But given the election results, there is a much more pressing and relevant matter to address, one that has received hardly any attention: How are we, as Quebecers, going to reclaim our place in Canada?

Obviously, this question matters deeply to me, as a federal politician from Quebec. But I am here today, not as a member of the Canadian government, but as a Quebecer wondering what we can do to move our society forward.

The sovereignty issue has monopolized political debate in Quebec for decades. It’s a legitimate debate, but it’s one that just keeps going around in circles.

In the meantime, Quebec must continue to develop. We have serious problems that need fixing. Our public finances are in a sorry state. Ours is one of the most heavily taxed regions in North America, and one of the least wealthy. We need to make massive investments in our crumbling infrastructure. And as our population is aging quickly, we have particular challenges to face when it comes to integrating immigrants and keeping our social programs solvent.

If we are to meet these challenges, we need governments, both in Quebec City and in Ottawa, that are focused on the real issues at hand, not on identity crises, referendum dilemmas and constitutional debates that create uncertainty. What we needs is stability, and not just for the next four years, but for the long term.

As I see it, that stability hinges on three major changes in attitude, all of which are related to Quebec reclaiming its place in Canada.


Justin Trudeau’s economic absurdities

13 April 2014 · Comment   

The Huffington Post Canada and the Huffington Post Québec ran the English and French versions of my article this week on Justin Trudeau’s absurd declarations about the economy these past several months. The English version is reproduced below.

Also, I was in Calgary this week and gave an interview to Licia Corbella, the Calgary Herald‘s editorial page editor. You can read her excellent article here.


If Trudeau Can’t Define the Middle Class, How Can He Work For Them?

Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business, Tourism and Agriculture

April 10, 2014

Should we trust a political leader who does not understand basic economic notions? This question is becoming more and more relevant as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, keeps making absurd statements about the economy.


Justin Trudeau still doesn’t understand economics

25 February 2014 · 2 comments   

As I noted a year and a half ago already, Justin Trudeau doesn’t understand much about economics. And this is still the case today, as he tries to justify getting us back into deficits and piling up more debt.

The National Post and the Huffington Post Québec ran my article today on the economic proposals of the Liberals following their national convention in Montreal. Here is the English version.

More Liberal debt is not the road to growth

February 25, 2014

Maxime Bernier is the Minister of State for Small Business, Tourism and Agriculture

Now that its Montreal convention is over, we know a little bit more about the Liberal party’s economic platform. One of its central planks is that budget deficits are a good way to grow the economy, and that we should not be afraid to go further into debt.

In a recent video posted on the Internet, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau explains that Canadian households are heavily indebted, just like provincial governments, while the federal government has considerably lowered its debt level compared with other developed countries since the 1990s. His conclusion: Ottawa is the only entity with the ability to spend money and rack up more debt. It, therefore, has to “step up” and do the spending that others are not able to do.

At last weekend’s convention, Liberal delegates heard Larry Summers, an American economist, explain why we need “unconventional support policies” — economic jargon for “spending without restraint.” According to him, accumulating more debt is OK when it serves to stimulate the economy.

Are we in a recession? Does the current situation justify sending our public finances back into the red?


Athletic feat of the year in Beauce

9 February 2014 · Comment   

It is with great honor that I received the trophy for the athletic feat of the year 2013 at the Gala du Mérite Sportif in Beauce this past February 1. This prize was given in recognition of the 107-km supermarathon that I ran during the Great Crossing of the Beauce in September.

Press Review: The Senate

1 December 2013 · Comment   

Here are a couple of articles and an interview regarding my recent declaration on the Senate.

Conservatives float referendum on Senate abolition,Metro, November 2, 2013.

Chantal Hébert, “Harper misses boat on Senate plebiscite, Chronicle-Herald, November 5, 2013.

Bernier calls for national referendum on Senate abolition,” CTV News, November 7, 2013.

Vincent Marissal, « Un référendum sur l’abolition du Sénat? », La Presse, 2 novembre 2013.

Stéphanie Marin, « Le congrès conservateur se clôt sans pouvoir étouffer la crise du Sénat », La Presse, 2 novembre 2013.

Emmanuelle Latraverse, Les coulisses du pouvoir, Radio-Canada, Entrevue avec Maxime Bernier, 3 novembre 2013.

Spending freeze resolution approved by 75% of Conservative delegates

11 November 2013 · Comment   

The Conservative Party of Canada national convention was held last week in Calgary. A resolution presented by the Conservative association of my riding of Beauce, which proposed to freeze government spending from the moment when the budget is balanced in 2015-2016, was debated in one of the convention’s policy workshops. It was approved (in a vote by a show of hands) by 75% of the delegates present. Organizers also told me that this vote is the one that got the highest level of participation in that workshop during the whole day.

Unfortunately, the resolution was not brought before the plenary session because of the rules of procedure of the convention, which means it will not become part of the party program. Still, I am very happy with the result of this vote which shows strong support from Party members for the principle of small government, and I want to thank all those who supported it.

The Great Crossing of the Beauce: It’s done!

6 October 2013 · Comment   

I got to the finish line!

The Great Crossing of Beauce took place on Saturday September 28. After training for nine months, I managed to cross the 100 km (107 to be more precise) that separate the two ends of my riding, from south to north. It took 13 hours.

It was a magnificent day. Despite the physical difficulties, I overcame this challenge thanks to the extraordinary support of the people of Beauce who ran with me and saluted me all along the way.

The most important is that the goal of raising $50,000 for the Moisson Beauce food bank was largely exceeded: almost $160,000 was raised, thanks to the generosity of the sponsors and of the population. These funds will help the needy families of Beauce.

I want to sincerely thank all the volunteers who made this event a success, those who ran alongside me, the donors, and all those who encouraged me.

In the media:

Jake Edmiston, “From ‘Mad Max’ to The Running Man,” National Post, 30 September 2013.

Allan Woods, “Tory MP Maxime Bernier turns to ultramarathon as next challenge,” Toronto Star, 27 September 2013.

Report by Infoman on Radio-Canada television (starting at 1:11 min.).

Report on TVA Nouvelles.