Monday, March 15, 2010

Maxime Bernier on Quebec

I had the pleasure of listening to Maxime Bernier talk about how to win friends and influence people in Quebec. He was introduced by another friend of freedom, Michel Kelly Gagnon, of the Montreal economic Institute. The room was pretty full. Maxime's message of limited government and freedom resonated with the crowd. He said we should follow the original constitution. The BNA act made a clear separation of powers. That should be respected. He said there are many in Quebec who believe in this message. Low taxes and a less intrusive government are excellent ideas.
I asked a question about the leftist Quebec media. Maxime said there are more voices being heard on the right. While I asked the question. Michel got a text asking him to appear on a TVA show to discuss limited government and freedom. Maxime mentioned my blog, which was nice. He repeated his message on being careful about wasting a lot of money on climate change.
After the event a red star reporter virtually attacked Maxime with questions. There was a friendly crowd including some of my libertarian friends from the Institute for Liberal Studies. Michel Kelly Gagnon compared Maxime to ron paul. Which I didn't particularly agree with. Maxime is a climate realist and a defender of freedom. He is not looking to be an isolationist and he likes NAFTA. I really want him back in Cabinet!

How to sell conservatism in Quebec
Maxime Bernier, MP for Beauce
Manning Networking Conference 2010
Ottawa, March 12, 2010

Good afternoon,

Thank you Michel for this very kind introduction. I would also like to thank Preston Manning for inviting me to this conference. Mr. Manning has done tremendous work to advance conservative ideas in this country. And this event is the perfect place for the topic I am about to discuss.

I would like to talk to you today about how to sell conservatism in Quebec. I’m happy to see so many people in this room who haven’t given up on that topic! It’s unfortunate, but many conservatives outside of Quebec seem to believe that conservatism in my home province is a lost cause. For them, all Quebecers are left-wingers and love big government. And it is hopeless to expect anything to come out of it.

If that were true, I guess I would not be here today. I won my riding with the largest majority of any candidate in Quebec in the last two elections. And everyone knows I’m a conservative!

I will grant you that Quebec has its peculiarities. One of these is of course the separatist versus federalist debate, which has tended to dominate all other issues for many decades now.

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