Speech: Big government is unfair

26 March 2016 · 10 comments   

Big government is unfair

Maxime Bernier, MP for Beauce
Conservative Futures
Barrie, Ontario, March 19, 2016

Thank you very much Alex for organizing this exciting conference and for inviting me.

It’s a great pleasure to meet again so many Conservative friends from Ontario. And to share this stage with my esteemed colleagues. It’s interesting to see that the number of “future Conservative leaders” keeps going up. We Conservatives like competition, don’t we!

So, to get to the topic of today’s conference: How we can ensure that Conservatives have a bright future? And that the future in Canada is Conservative?

It’s obviously very important to defend the values of individual freedom and responsibility, the principles of small government and free markets.

You know that I am a big fan of these ideas. I have been fighting for them for many years and I will continue to do so. They are the reason I went into politics. They are central to who we are.

But defending these principles is not enough. Today I want to argue that to ensure their success and our success, we have to make them inseparable from the idea of fairness.

We live in an era of unprecedented wealth, of incredible technological feats. We live longer than any previous generation, and in better health, thanks to the rule of law and the free markets that are the basis of Western civilization.

Yet, many Canadians are dissatisfied with their lot. They see unfairness everywhere. They think the one percent have it too good at the expense of the poor and middle classes. They resent the power of big business. They think their region or province is not getting its fair share.

I believe they have a point. But they are wrong when they blame the rich and capitalism for all this unfairness. And when they support those in the Liberal Party and the NDP who promise to solve these problems with more government intervention. Because the real culprit is big government.


Speech: If I decide to run, how will I do it?

20 March 2016 · 6 comments   

If I decide to run, how will I do it?

Maxime Bernier, MP for Beauce
Manning Centre Conference
Ottawa, February 27, 2016

Dear friends, good afternoon. It’s nice to see everyone here today.

Let me get right to the question we were asked: if I decide to run, how will I do it?

The answer is very clear in my mind: I will run a campaign based on substance and ideas. The whole reason I’m in politics is to defend and promote conservative values. I grew up with these conservative values, they are who I am.

I am from Beauce, a region that is well known as the most entrepreneurial in Quebec. This is where I learned the values that go with entrepreneurship: individual freedom, personal responsibility, integrity, and self-reliance.

But of course, these are also universal values – values that are at the core of Western civilization. Values that have made this country prosperous and a great place to live.

There is a large constituency for these small-government principles. Many people who don’t necessarily consider themselves conservative and who did not vote for us are fed up with a big government overborrowing and overspending. A big government trying to manage our lives from the cradle to the grave. And we can safely bet they will be even more fed up four years from now!

However, I find that we conservatives have not always been keen on openly defending these small-government principles.


Speech: Let’s end business subsidies

16 November 2015 · 7 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 · 1 comment   

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.