Kevin O’Leary may be star, but Conservatives need substance, says Quebec MP Maxime Bernier

News Mar 10, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

The Conservative party’s star candidate to replace Stephen Harper as party leader, businessman Kevin O’Leary, may be attracting many supporters, but he hasn’t produced any policies and he remains unknown inside Quebec, says Maxime Bernier, also seeking the party’s leadership post.

“Kevin O’Leary is very popular with the population outside Quebec,” said Bernier in an interview. “But in Quebec, they don’t know him. They didn’t watch Dragon’s Den. His name recognition in Quebec is near zero.”

Bernier, a 53-year-old Quebec MP, said the next Conservative party leader needs to be bilingual to connect with a significant number of French-speaking Canadians if the party wants to win. O’Leary struggles with French right now, he says.

During a Conservative leadership event in Burlington on March 5, O’Leary was mobbed by people who stood in line waiting to take photographs with him.

But Bernier, who didn’t attend the event, said after speaking to about 80 people at a breakfast meeting on March 7 at the Marquis Gardens on Rymal Road, said O’Leary has nothing to offer but sound bites for the media and not proper policy papers like he has been churning out.

“We are still waiting for his platform,” he said.

Bernier and O’Leary are the front-runners for the party leadership's May 27 vote. The Quebec MP ranks second in polls of Conservative members and third in endorsements. This is the second time Bernier has spoken at the club.

Most of Bernier’s policies are on his website, including items on border security, firearms, and economic strategy. He wants to establish a 15 per cent tax rate for 90 per cent of the Canadians earning $15,000 to $100,000 and a 25 per cent tax rate for people making salaries after $100,000. So the maximum tax rate for the high earners would be 46 per cent (including provincial tax) rather than the current 54 per cent, he said. It will help Canada to compete with the United States if President Donald Trump follows through on reducing corporate taxes from 35 per cent to 15 per cent.

Bernier’s tax plan would also include eliminating taxes for those 1.5 million Canadians who earn less than $15,000.

“That would be a good reform for the poor, for the middle class and for the rich,” he said.

But the best policy would be to kick-start the Canadian economy. The Liberals spent $28 billion last year and economic growth was 1.2 per cent, he said.

“You need at least 3 per cent growth,” he said. “We don’t have any economic growth.”

Bernier called Conservative leadership contender and MP Kellie Leitch’s stricter immigration policy, which would include immigrant officials interviewing every new comer to Canada and having them agree to sign a “Canadian values” document, unworkable. Leitch has stated only about 15 per cent of immigrants receive a face-to-face interview with immigrant officials.

“It won’t work,” he says. “The cost would be huge.”

He supports more immigrants for Canada, matching the 400,000 number when the Conservatives were in office. Currently, Canada receives about 270,000 immigrants a year.

However, his immigration strategy would target new comers who have money.

“I want more economic immigrants,” said Bernier. “Why? It would be easier for them to become part of our society. Yes, we have to be open. But I don’t believe in mass immigration.”

He does want the Liberal government to close the loophole that involves the Safe Third Country Agreement, established in 2004, between Canada and the United States. Under the agreement, Canada is required to review whether the United States is in compliance with international conventions against torture, has a good human-rights record, and accepts its responsibility to protect refugees. The Liberals are under pressure to suspend the agreement in the wake of President Trump issuing his second travel ban.

Bernier said accepting refugees in Canada through the agreement means delaying the requests of refugees who are already in the country waiting for an answer.

“We must have a conversation with Trump on that,” said Bernier. “(The Liberals) know they can fix the loophole. It’s not fair to the other refugees who are in Canada.”

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said the refugee ban by Trump is an evolving situation and “there’s no change at this time.”

While his policy paper on defence is still being formulated, Bernier said he supports Canada increasing defence spending by 2 per cent over 10 years.

“We need new helicopters. We need new submarines. We need new equipment for our soldiers,” said Bernier, as the crowd applauded.

Bernier said he welcomes social Conservatives into the party under his leadership. He refused to say if he is pro-choice or pro-life, but he would welcome a private member’s bill on abortion.

“I don’t know what will be my vote,” he said. “I will read that bill. We don’t have a bill on abortion like all the other democratic societies.

“Let’s have the debate. They want the debate. I like debates.”

Bernier said later it is interesting that after he has called for the privatization of Canada’s airports, and establishing a free-trade agreement with China, the Liberals are now examining both ideas.

“What I don’t like (about the Liberals) is all the spending (and) the deficit.”

Bernier’s libertarianism extends to the controversial M-103 parliamentary motion that calls on the Legislature to fight against hatred, discrimination and prejudices particularly against Muslims.

“I don’t like it when we are focusing only on one religion,” said Bernier, who will vote against the motion. “We have (hate speech) legislation against that. We don’t need to change anything. It’s part of the criminal code. I don’t like it when we are focusing on one religion.”

Hamilton’s Macdonald-Cartier Club’s next meeting is scheduled for April 13, when Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Lemieux will be the guest speaker. Doors open at 7 a.m. at Carmen’s C Hotel.

The Conservatives are scheduled to vote for their new leader May 27 on a preferential ballot vote.

 

 

 

Kevin O’Leary may be star, but Conservatives need substance, says Quebec MP Maxime Bernier

News Mar 10, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

The Conservative party’s star candidate to replace Stephen Harper as party leader, businessman Kevin O’Leary, may be attracting many supporters, but he hasn’t produced any policies and he remains unknown inside Quebec, says Maxime Bernier, also seeking the party’s leadership post.

“Kevin O’Leary is very popular with the population outside Quebec,” said Bernier in an interview. “But in Quebec, they don’t know him. They didn’t watch Dragon’s Den. His name recognition in Quebec is near zero.”

Bernier, a 53-year-old Quebec MP, said the next Conservative party leader needs to be bilingual to connect with a significant number of French-speaking Canadians if the party wants to win. O’Leary struggles with French right now, he says.

During a Conservative leadership event in Burlington on March 5, O’Leary was mobbed by people who stood in line waiting to take photographs with him.

But Bernier, who didn’t attend the event, said after speaking to about 80 people at a breakfast meeting on March 7 at the Marquis Gardens on Rymal Road, said O’Leary has nothing to offer but sound bites for the media and not proper policy papers like he has been churning out.

“We are still waiting for his platform,” he said.

Bernier and O’Leary are the front-runners for the party leadership's May 27 vote. The Quebec MP ranks second in polls of Conservative members and third in endorsements. This is the second time Bernier has spoken at the club.

Most of Bernier’s policies are on his website, including items on border security, firearms, and economic strategy. He wants to establish a 15 per cent tax rate for 90 per cent of the Canadians earning $15,000 to $100,000 and a 25 per cent tax rate for people making salaries after $100,000. So the maximum tax rate for the high earners would be 46 per cent (including provincial tax) rather than the current 54 per cent, he said. It will help Canada to compete with the United States if President Donald Trump follows through on reducing corporate taxes from 35 per cent to 15 per cent.

Bernier’s tax plan would also include eliminating taxes for those 1.5 million Canadians who earn less than $15,000.

“That would be a good reform for the poor, for the middle class and for the rich,” he said.

But the best policy would be to kick-start the Canadian economy. The Liberals spent $28 billion last year and economic growth was 1.2 per cent, he said.

“You need at least 3 per cent growth,” he said. “We don’t have any economic growth.”

Bernier called Conservative leadership contender and MP Kellie Leitch’s stricter immigration policy, which would include immigrant officials interviewing every new comer to Canada and having them agree to sign a “Canadian values” document, unworkable. Leitch has stated only about 15 per cent of immigrants receive a face-to-face interview with immigrant officials.

“It won’t work,” he says. “The cost would be huge.”

He supports more immigrants for Canada, matching the 400,000 number when the Conservatives were in office. Currently, Canada receives about 270,000 immigrants a year.

However, his immigration strategy would target new comers who have money.

“I want more economic immigrants,” said Bernier. “Why? It would be easier for them to become part of our society. Yes, we have to be open. But I don’t believe in mass immigration.”

He does want the Liberal government to close the loophole that involves the Safe Third Country Agreement, established in 2004, between Canada and the United States. Under the agreement, Canada is required to review whether the United States is in compliance with international conventions against torture, has a good human-rights record, and accepts its responsibility to protect refugees. The Liberals are under pressure to suspend the agreement in the wake of President Trump issuing his second travel ban.

Bernier said accepting refugees in Canada through the agreement means delaying the requests of refugees who are already in the country waiting for an answer.

“We must have a conversation with Trump on that,” said Bernier. “(The Liberals) know they can fix the loophole. It’s not fair to the other refugees who are in Canada.”

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said the refugee ban by Trump is an evolving situation and “there’s no change at this time.”

While his policy paper on defence is still being formulated, Bernier said he supports Canada increasing defence spending by 2 per cent over 10 years.

“We need new helicopters. We need new submarines. We need new equipment for our soldiers,” said Bernier, as the crowd applauded.

Bernier said he welcomes social Conservatives into the party under his leadership. He refused to say if he is pro-choice or pro-life, but he would welcome a private member’s bill on abortion.

“I don’t know what will be my vote,” he said. “I will read that bill. We don’t have a bill on abortion like all the other democratic societies.

“Let’s have the debate. They want the debate. I like debates.”

Bernier said later it is interesting that after he has called for the privatization of Canada’s airports, and establishing a free-trade agreement with China, the Liberals are now examining both ideas.

“What I don’t like (about the Liberals) is all the spending (and) the deficit.”

Bernier’s libertarianism extends to the controversial M-103 parliamentary motion that calls on the Legislature to fight against hatred, discrimination and prejudices particularly against Muslims.

“I don’t like it when we are focusing only on one religion,” said Bernier, who will vote against the motion. “We have (hate speech) legislation against that. We don’t need to change anything. It’s part of the criminal code. I don’t like it when we are focusing on one religion.”

Hamilton’s Macdonald-Cartier Club’s next meeting is scheduled for April 13, when Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Lemieux will be the guest speaker. Doors open at 7 a.m. at Carmen’s C Hotel.

The Conservatives are scheduled to vote for their new leader May 27 on a preferential ballot vote.

 

 

 

Kevin O’Leary may be star, but Conservatives need substance, says Quebec MP Maxime Bernier

News Mar 10, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

The Conservative party’s star candidate to replace Stephen Harper as party leader, businessman Kevin O’Leary, may be attracting many supporters, but he hasn’t produced any policies and he remains unknown inside Quebec, says Maxime Bernier, also seeking the party’s leadership post.

“Kevin O’Leary is very popular with the population outside Quebec,” said Bernier in an interview. “But in Quebec, they don’t know him. They didn’t watch Dragon’s Den. His name recognition in Quebec is near zero.”

Bernier, a 53-year-old Quebec MP, said the next Conservative party leader needs to be bilingual to connect with a significant number of French-speaking Canadians if the party wants to win. O’Leary struggles with French right now, he says.

During a Conservative leadership event in Burlington on March 5, O’Leary was mobbed by people who stood in line waiting to take photographs with him.

But Bernier, who didn’t attend the event, said after speaking to about 80 people at a breakfast meeting on March 7 at the Marquis Gardens on Rymal Road, said O’Leary has nothing to offer but sound bites for the media and not proper policy papers like he has been churning out.

“We are still waiting for his platform,” he said.

Bernier and O’Leary are the front-runners for the party leadership's May 27 vote. The Quebec MP ranks second in polls of Conservative members and third in endorsements. This is the second time Bernier has spoken at the club.

Most of Bernier’s policies are on his website, including items on border security, firearms, and economic strategy. He wants to establish a 15 per cent tax rate for 90 per cent of the Canadians earning $15,000 to $100,000 and a 25 per cent tax rate for people making salaries after $100,000. So the maximum tax rate for the high earners would be 46 per cent (including provincial tax) rather than the current 54 per cent, he said. It will help Canada to compete with the United States if President Donald Trump follows through on reducing corporate taxes from 35 per cent to 15 per cent.

Bernier’s tax plan would also include eliminating taxes for those 1.5 million Canadians who earn less than $15,000.

“That would be a good reform for the poor, for the middle class and for the rich,” he said.

But the best policy would be to kick-start the Canadian economy. The Liberals spent $28 billion last year and economic growth was 1.2 per cent, he said.

“You need at least 3 per cent growth,” he said. “We don’t have any economic growth.”

Bernier called Conservative leadership contender and MP Kellie Leitch’s stricter immigration policy, which would include immigrant officials interviewing every new comer to Canada and having them agree to sign a “Canadian values” document, unworkable. Leitch has stated only about 15 per cent of immigrants receive a face-to-face interview with immigrant officials.

“It won’t work,” he says. “The cost would be huge.”

He supports more immigrants for Canada, matching the 400,000 number when the Conservatives were in office. Currently, Canada receives about 270,000 immigrants a year.

However, his immigration strategy would target new comers who have money.

“I want more economic immigrants,” said Bernier. “Why? It would be easier for them to become part of our society. Yes, we have to be open. But I don’t believe in mass immigration.”

He does want the Liberal government to close the loophole that involves the Safe Third Country Agreement, established in 2004, between Canada and the United States. Under the agreement, Canada is required to review whether the United States is in compliance with international conventions against torture, has a good human-rights record, and accepts its responsibility to protect refugees. The Liberals are under pressure to suspend the agreement in the wake of President Trump issuing his second travel ban.

Bernier said accepting refugees in Canada through the agreement means delaying the requests of refugees who are already in the country waiting for an answer.

“We must have a conversation with Trump on that,” said Bernier. “(The Liberals) know they can fix the loophole. It’s not fair to the other refugees who are in Canada.”

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said the refugee ban by Trump is an evolving situation and “there’s no change at this time.”

While his policy paper on defence is still being formulated, Bernier said he supports Canada increasing defence spending by 2 per cent over 10 years.

“We need new helicopters. We need new submarines. We need new equipment for our soldiers,” said Bernier, as the crowd applauded.

Bernier said he welcomes social Conservatives into the party under his leadership. He refused to say if he is pro-choice or pro-life, but he would welcome a private member’s bill on abortion.

“I don’t know what will be my vote,” he said. “I will read that bill. We don’t have a bill on abortion like all the other democratic societies.

“Let’s have the debate. They want the debate. I like debates.”

Bernier said later it is interesting that after he has called for the privatization of Canada’s airports, and establishing a free-trade agreement with China, the Liberals are now examining both ideas.

“What I don’t like (about the Liberals) is all the spending (and) the deficit.”

Bernier’s libertarianism extends to the controversial M-103 parliamentary motion that calls on the Legislature to fight against hatred, discrimination and prejudices particularly against Muslims.

“I don’t like it when we are focusing only on one religion,” said Bernier, who will vote against the motion. “We have (hate speech) legislation against that. We don’t need to change anything. It’s part of the criminal code. I don’t like it when we are focusing on one religion.”

Hamilton’s Macdonald-Cartier Club’s next meeting is scheduled for April 13, when Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Lemieux will be the guest speaker. Doors open at 7 a.m. at Carmen’s C Hotel.

The Conservatives are scheduled to vote for their new leader May 27 on a preferential ballot vote.