Correspondent in New York
His followers call him ‘Mad Max’ – ‘crazy Max’ – a reference to the dystopian film of the late seventies and his character. Maxime Bernier He is the leader of the party he created in 2018, the People’s Party of Canada. He had left the Conservative Party, with which he was Foreign Minister, due to the hardening of his positions on immigration and multiculturalism.
His party brings together the small but growing electorate that opposes Canada’s traditional liberal policies: immigration laxity, gun control, the welfare state, or what he calls “climate change scaremongering.” For opposing these ‘sacred’ matters, some have defined it as the ‘Trumpet’ version of Canada.
Bernier, a libertarian and a populist, has found a place in the pandemic among the sector of voters opposed to vaccines – above all, their mandatory nature – and the strong restrictions that Trudeau and regional governments have imposed on the population and businesses.
His party, which had almost symbolic support two years ago, has risen in the polls in the campaign to stand at around 6%. This could be, paradoxically, a boost for Trudeau, since Bernier could subtract support from conservatives of O’Toole – the favorite of the right – in districts much disputed with the prime minister.