He hasn't come out and said it directly, but Maxime Bernier clearly intends his Peoples Party of Canada to reshape the nature of the Canadian confederation if it is elected as government. In a series of public statements and addresses Bernier has unveiled a number of policy initiatives which will dramatically alter the nature of the country.
In perhaps the most contentious policy statement so far, Bernier says his Peoples Party will “do nothing” on climate change because it is a shared Federal-Provincial responsibility which he will shift entirely onto the shoulders of the provinces. Bernier says he will let the provinces decide on their own climate change policies, or if they decide not to establish a policy will be fine with him as well.
This may not sound like much by itself, but it raises the question of whether the Peoples Party will treat all shared programs in the same way. What will happen to health care in the provinces if a PPC government decides to leave it in the hands of the provinces? It's not hard to image the havoc on already fragile systems.
Bernier has also suggested that his party would reduce the level of equalization payments made to the provinces. e says he agrees with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs who has suggested a reduction in equalization payments would force some provinces to more effectively utilize their natural resources. He was certainly not calling for the blanket reduction Bernier is planning, which would create chaos at the provincial level especially for the so called “have not” provinces such as our own.
These two policies by themselves go against the very foundations of our Canadian confederation and should have no place in the dialogue of any political party in the country.
With these outrageous positions Bernier has clearly earned back his old nickname of Mad Max.
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister who lives in Springhill