|Official Opposition Critic for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development|
November 20, 2015 – April 7, 2016
|Preceded by||Peggy Nash|
|Succeeded by||Diane Finley|
|Minister of Small Business and Tourism|
May 18, 2011 – November 4, 2015
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Rob Moore|
|Succeeded by||Bardish Chagger|
|7th Minister of Foreign Affairs|
August 13, 2007 – May 26, 2008
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Peter MacKay|
|Succeeded by||David Emerson|
|Minister of Industry|
February 6, 2006 – August 13, 2007
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||David Emerson|
|Succeeded by||Jim Prentice|
|Chair of the Standing Committee on
March 9, 2009 – June 20, 2011
|Preceded by||Rick Casson|
|Succeeded by||James Bezan|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament
January 23, 2006
|Preceded by||Claude Drouin|
January 18, 1963 |
Saint-Georges, Quebec, Canada
|Residence||Saint-Georges, Quebec, Canada|
|Profession||Businessman, lawyer, consultant|
Maxime Bernier, PC, MP (born January 18, 1963) is a Canadian businessman, lawyer, and politician, who is currently serving as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Beauce in Quebec. Bernier has been elected four times with a majority of the vote in his riding. During his time in politics, he served as the Minister of Industry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He is now the Official Opposition Critic for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.
- 1 Background
- 2 Politics
- 2.1 Political views
- 2.2 Transparency
- 2.3 Industry Minister
- 2.4 Foreign Affairs Minister
- 2.5 Minister of State
- 3 Opposition Critic
- 4 Leadership
- 5 Electoral record
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Bernier was born in Saint-Georges, Quebec, the son of Doris (Rodrigue) and Gilles Bernier, a well known radio host, who represented the riding of Beauce from 1984 to 1997, first as a Progressive Conservative and then as an independent. He has two sisters, Brigitte and Caroline, and one brother, Gilles Bernier, Jr. In his teens Bernier played football and was a member of the Condors, the team of the Séminaire St-Georges, when they won the Bol d’Or at the Olympic Stadium in 1980. He has participated in several marathons and runs daily.
For 19 years, Bernier has held positions in several financial and banking institutions, including the National Bank, the Securities Commission of Québec, and Standard Life of Canada. He also served as Executive Vice-President of the Montreal Economic Institute, a prominent Quebec free-market think tank. During his time with the think tank, he co-authored a book on tax reform.
The father of two children, Bernier and their mother have been divorced for several years. However, Bernier explains that he keeps his children's life private due to their importance to him, and is proud of them. On September 29, 2013, he trained for and ran an ultramarathon for thirteen hours and raised $153,000 for a local food bank.
Bernier became the Conservative Party candidate in the riding of Beauce for the 2006 federal election. The intention was to bring his father back into federal politics; however, he declined. Before 2006, Bernier, who was recruited, has explained he was not active in politics and decided to join the Conservative party, not because of his father affiliation, but their stance on federal centralization.
The Conservatives had been shut out of Quebec in the 2004 election but Bernier, whose father had previously represented the riding, was well known and well liked in the area, and was seen as one of the Conservatives' best hopes of electing an MP in the province. Bernier voted no in the 1995 Quebec referendum. Bernier explained that while he did not favour the centralized approach of the federalist elite, he did not believe that the separatist establishment could address all of his concerns.
Bernier has long been viewed as one of the most libertarian politicians in Canada, and a leader of the limited government wing of the Conservative Party. Bernier has an history of quoting Friedrich Hayek and Henry Hazlitt. These beliefs have caused him to be nicknamed "Mad Max", the "Bloc-buster" or the "Albertan from Quebec" by his Ottawa colleagues. He has said that his views were shaped by his life experiences such as seeing how regulation affected small business.
He told Huffington Post Canada in December 2015 that he would focus his platform on a "more decentralized federalism, a smaller government less involved in Canadians' day-to-day lives, as well as more personal freedoms".
In 2010, he told an audience at the Manning Centre that his view for Canada is not held by Pierre Elliot Trudeau or Jacques Parizeau by stating "Jacques Parizeau used to say that he and Pierre Trudeau agreed on almost everything, except where to put the national capital. They were both believers in big government. Left-wing Quebec nationalism and left-wing Canadian centralism feed off each other."
Bernier believes that the best way to strengthen unity in Canada is by respecting the constitution and not interfering within constitutional granted jurisdiction; instead of vote buying measures.
In 2007, Bernier was requested by a local bicycle manufacturer to impose a quota against Chinese bicycles. He opposed it because he would not protect 200 jobs in his own riding against the interest of all Canadians. The owner explained to him that he had two options if the quota did not get approved, invest $1-million in low-end bicycles, creating 300 new jobs in Saint- Georges, or a similar amount in high-end bikes that would bring considerably fewer jobs but keep the company more productive. Bernier opposition shocked his Cabinet colleagues, who feared for his electoral chances and Bloc Quebecois accused him of not supporting the needs of Quebecers. However, Bernier accused the Bloc Quebecois for protecting corporate interests, not Quebecers. Bernier explained that the bicycle company decided to retool its self as an high-end manufacturer and is still in business.
Corporate welfare and equalization
"It's not the job of the government to give money to businesses", he said at the 2016 Manning Centre Conference in Ottawa. "I think people understand that. Small businesses don't have the connections or the time to get a handout from the government."
In a February 2, 2017 speech, Bernier criticized equalization as a scheme that subsidized provinces with poor economic performance while creating a "poverty trap" for "have-not provinces". 
On March 19, 2016, at the Conservative Future's Conference he cited the liberalization of China, India, "other 3rd world countries" that lifted "millions of people out of poverty", citing "less government and more freedom". In the same speech he also criticized policies creating "more government" to address poverty and unfairness in the free market as "nonsense". Bernier later clarified that his comments were a joke and questioned Press Progress due to their connection to the NDP.
Climate change, bureaucracy, and politicalization
Bernier has suggested that there are uncertainties or exaggerations about anthropogenic climate change and its significance. Bernier later clarified that he wanted scientists to stay out of public policy. He also mentioned that he did not want the government to dictate scientific policy.
In 2010, Bernier was rumoured to be the MP that prevented the federal government from spending $175 million for Videotron Centre in Quebec City. Even though, most of his Quebec colleagues did support the investment. Even when there were rumours of the government making the investment, Bernier did not waver his position by pointing out the growing budget deficit as an issue.
In 2017, Bernier stated that while "it was nice" that Canadians wanted to help refugees, it should not come at the cost of its citizens. He pointed out that he prefers private sponsorship over government sponsor due to logistical challenges that a government sponsor may face.
Bernier was one of the higher-profile freshman MPs from Quebec, and as such, on February 6, 2006, he was appointed Minister of Industry. He was also the minister responsible for Statistics Canada, and by virtue of being appointed as the Minister of Industry, Bernier also served as the Registrar General. During his time as Industry Minister Bernier set in motion/credited the steps that led to deregulation of the telecommunication industry. Professor Richard J. Schultz from McGill University lauded his attempt to deregulate the telecommunications industry, calling him "the best Industry Minister in 30 years, without challenge".
Foreign Affairs Minister
Bernier came under intense scrutiny after the media discovered that his former girlfriend Julie Couillard, predating their relationship, had romantic links with people that had connections to the Hells Angels before 1999.
In April 2008, Bernier inadvertently left sensitive government documents at Couillard's home. Couillard gave the documents to a lawyer for transmittal to the government, and then the media revealed her links. Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper had initially dismissed Bernier's relationship with Couillard as irrelevant, he accepted Bernier's resignation. (International Trade Minister David Emerson became the interim minister of Foreign Affairs following Bernier's resignation, and in June became his permanent replacement.)
Journalist Chantal Hébert criticized the reaction to the incident by opposition parties, and said that both the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals had been actively lobbying the media to break the news for weeks. Hébert says that Couillard never had any criminal record and was not charged with criminal activity, and that investigative journalists could not find links between Couillard and the bikers since 1999. Also, Hébert says that it is "just about unprecedented for a Quebec party to venture into the private life of a political opponent in this fashion" and that most Quebec politicians avoid using such tactics.
An internal government report dated 16 July 2008 found that Bernier did not adequately safeguard the NATO conference briefing materials, in leaving the documents unattended in an unlocked briefcase both in a Bucharest hotel room and in Canada. The documents related to a NATO summit in Romania, and addressed NATO's relationship with Russia; expansion to the Balkans; Afghan prisoners; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; AECL reactors in Estonia; and the presence of Al-Qaida in Pakistan, among other topics. Bernier accepted blame for the incident and resigned his cabinet post on May 26, 2008. The review (conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs) found that the content of the documents, if disclosed, "would not have caused significant injury to the national interest", but also found "the incident itself was injurious to the national interest by tarnishing Canada's good reputation within NATO circles for safeguarding classified information."
Several weeks later, Bernier apologized to his family members, who felt dishonored by his actions. Bernier mentioned that this incident made him rethink why he was in politics and decided to stay out of the public eye.
In 2010, Bernier was recruited by the now defunct ADQ to become their leader. It was supported by Ottawa insider as a potential swap with Mario Dumont. However, he decided to rejected the opportunity based on the time.
Whenever asked about the incident, Bernier mentions that he keeps government information within the parliament while staying up late to finish duties. He also explains that his constituents have told him that they did not have an issue with Couillard's past, and would vote for him if he did not get into trouble. Bernier has moved past this incident.
Minister of State
On May 18, 2011, Bernier was appointed as Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism). His responsibilities were expanded with his appointment on July 15, 2013 to Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture). He served in this last role until the new cabinet was sworn in on November 3, 2015, following the Harper Government's defeat on October 19, 2015.
Red Tape Commission
During his time, he led the red tape commission which created a rule that for every regulation added then another one has to be cut.
On March 06, 2016, Bernier introduced a motion that would have required Bombardier executives to testify reasoning for the federal government to bail them out. However, the governing Liberal Party of Canada blocked it.
On April 7, 2016, Bernier filed his nomination papers to be a candidate in the Conservative Party of Canada leadership election, which is to be held in May 2017. Bernier explains that the reason why he is running is to explaining his views while being authentic and not pandering to any special interest group. Before filing his nomination papers, he consulted with his family and supporters when making the decision.
|Canadian federal election, 2015|
|New Democratic||Daniel Royer||5,443||9.74||-20.26||–|
|Bloc Québécois||Stéphane Trudel||4,144||7.42||+0.75||–|
|Green||Céline Brown MacDonald||943||1.69||+0.08||–|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||55,882||100.0||$222,691.43|
|Total rejected ballots||712||1.25||0.02|
|Source: Elections Canada|
|Canadian federal election, 2011|
|New Democratic||Serge Bergeron||15,831||29.95||+21.43||$1,165.17|
|Bloc Québécois||Sylvio Morin||3,535||6.69||-7.29||$19,711.99|
|Green||Etienne Doyon Lessard||852||1.61||-3.16||$2.00|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||52,850||100.0||$90,992.37|
|Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots||681||1.27||-0.30|
|Canadian federal election, 2008|
|Bloc Québécois||André Côté||7,143||13.98||-5.99||$13,263,15|
|New Democratic||Véronique Poulin||4,352||8.52||+5.97||$2,575.32|
|Green||Nicolas Rochette||2,436||4.77||+2.23||none listed|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||51,084||100.0||$87,470|
|Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots||817||1.57||+0.75|
|Canadian federal election, 2006|
|Bloc Québécois||Patrice Moore||10,997||19.97||-16.29||$66,069.90|
|New Democratic||Cléo Chartier||1,405||2.55||-0.50||$1,020.20|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||55,078||100.0||$81,497|
|Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots||454||0.82||-1.42|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing||+33.11|
- Delmar, Dan (February 14, 2017). "Dan Delmar: Maverick Maxime Bernier unites parts of Quebec and of the West". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
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- "How to sell conservatism in Quebec". Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- "Trudeau would reignite Quebec's sovereignty flames, Maxime Bernier says". Retrieved 05 March 2017. Check date values in:
- . 31 August 2007 http://www.thepolitic.com/archives/2007/08/31/the-future/. Retrieved 26 February 2017. Missing or empty
- "Maxime Bernier and the politics of ideas". Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- "Canada's Equalization Program Is Unfair and Ineffective". Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- "VIDEO: Conservative MP Maxime Bernier wishes Canada had "more freedom" like China". Press Progress.
- "Maxime Bernier: China has "less government and more freedom" than Canada". 29 March 2016.
- "Maxime Bernier's China comments continue to confuse". 5 April 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- Taber, Jane (February 24, 2010). "Maxime Bernier has 'long history' of climate-change denial". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
- "Bernier questions climate science". MacLean's. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- "Climate skeptics gathering influence in Tory Senate seats". Edmonton Journal. 22 January 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- "Une position sage". La Presse. 22 February 2010.
- "Press review: my opinion piece on climate change « Maxime Bernier blog". www.maximebernier.com. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
- Stephenson, Dan. "The Shotgun: Maxime Bernier agrees with Harper: "Iraq war was a mistake"". westernstandard.blogs.com. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
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- Wyatt, By Nelson. "Former prime minister leading charge to return Nordiques to Quebec".
- "Reports of Maxime Bernier's changed mind were greatly exaggerated - Macleans.ca". January 25, 2011.
- "Canada's Immigration Policy Must Aim To Fulfill Our Economic Needs".
- http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/698531395773. Missing or empty
- "More Quebec MPs named to cabinet than expected". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 February 2006. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "CRTC gives thumbs-up to telecom complaints agency". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 December 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- "Conservatives overrule CRTC on regulation of internet phones". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 November 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- "Ottawa accelerates deregulation of local phone service". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- "Just wondering ... about Bernier". Globe and Mail. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "Opposition leaders slam Harper's cabinet shuffle". CTV News. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
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- "Who is Julie Couillard?". Montreal Gazette. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
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- https://soundcloud.com/newstalk770/guest-maxime-bernier-jesse-brown-talking-postmedia-layoffs-bonus-alan-cross?in=newstalk770/sets/kingkade-breakenridge. Missing or empty
- "Voter Information Service - Who are the candidates in my electoral district?". Retrieved October 31, 2016.
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- "OVR / ROS". Retrieved October 31, 2016.
- "Financial Reports: Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return". Retrieved October 31, 2016.
- CPC biography page of Maxime Bernier
- Maxime Bernier's Official Blog
- Profile at Parliament of Canada
- Maxime Bernier – Parliament of Canada biography
- Speeches, votes and activity at OpenParliament.ca
- Final Report on the Administrative Review into the Security Incident Reported By Maxime Bernier
|28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper|
|Cabinet Posts (2)|
|Peter MacKay||Minister of Foreign Affairs
|David Emerson||Minister of Industry
|Special Cabinet Responsibilities|
|Josée Verner||Minister responsible for La Francophonie