thumb-2023-06-07-conservative-party-peoples-party-maxime-bernier-pride This article is more than 10 months old

Conservative Party Sent Homophobic Mailings Attacking Maxime Bernier, People’s Party Claims

People’s Party accuses Conservatives of targeting its supporters homes with fliers highlighting Bernier’s past support for Pride

Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives are being accused of sending homophobic mailings attacking People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier to voter’s homes ahead of a federal byelection in Manitoba.

Bernier, who only narrowly lost the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2018, is seeking a seat in Parliament by running in Portage-Lisgar, a rural Manitoba riding recently vacated by former Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen.

Bernier, who now leads the far-right People’s Party, is up against Conservative candidate Branden Leslie, a longtime party staffer turned lobbyist — the campaign has devolved into both candidates accusing one another of being fake conservatives.

Now, the People’s Party is alleging Poilievre’s Conservatives are engaging in an 11th hour dirty tricks campaign by circulating photos of Bernier celebrating Pride.

Daniel Tyrie, Executive Director of the People’s Party of Canada, tweeted photos Friday night showing a flier titled “facts about Maxime Bernier” that attempts to associate the PPC leader with Québec separatism, the World Economic Forum, the Chinese Communist Party and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, among other things.

It also features a photo from Ottawa’s 2016 Capital Pride festival showing Bernier wearing a t-shirt with the rainbow coloured logo of LGBTory, a no-longer active conservative group that previously organized Pride events and sought to be a voice for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Conservatives.”

The flier states it was “authorized by the official agent of Branden Leslie,” however, neither Leslie’s campaign nor the Conservative Party of Canada responded to multiple requests from PressProgress to clarify who produced it.

Mailing attacking Maxime Bernier

Daniel Tyrie (Twitter)

People’s Party spokesperson Martin Masse vouched for its authenticity, confirming the party’s Executive Director received the flier at his home and that he personally took the photograph himself.

He’s been residing in Altona since the campaign began and found it stuck in his door when he got home last night,” Masse told PressProgress. “After speaking with other local supporters, it appears to have been a coordinated effort targeting houses with PPC signs.”

The People’s Party questions why Poilievre’s Conservatives would go out of its way to draw attention to Bernier’s past support for Pride.

“We wonder why they inserted a picture of him at a gay pride parade,” Masse said. “Do Conservatives imply that it is wrong for Mr. Bernier to have shown such support in the past?”

“Bizarrely, in this flier, the Conservatives attack him for various things Mr. Bernier did as a member of their party. In doing so, they seem to be attacking their own party.”

In 2016, Bernier marched in the Toronto Pride parade alongside current Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong. The LGBTory group’s photos show other current Poilievre shadow cabinet members, including Karen Vecchio and Michelle Rempel, at their events.

Bernier, who was historically affiliated with the libertarian-wing of the Conservative Party,  invited supporters to join him at the 2016 Pride parade by posting a rainbow Gadsden flag next to the words: “Free to love.”

Masse clarified that “Mr. Bernier would certainly not go to a pride parade today, but he still supports equal rights for all, including gays and lesbians.”

Maxime Bernier (Facebook)

On Saturday, the Liberal Party released video showing Branden Leslie telling a crowd that he would have voted against a bill banning gay conversion therapy that was passed unanimously by all MPs — including Conservatives.

Bill C-4 made it a criminal offence to provide, advertise or profit off services aimed at changing people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I would have voted against the bill,” Leslie said. “You shouldn’t be criminalized for providing spiritual guidance or any guidance to a young person that is going through something that at the end of it, if they go through with it, they will regret.”

The race has also seen both candidates accuse the other of being controlled by the World Economic Forum.

The flier also accuses Bernier “went to the globalist WEF conference in Davos,” a favourite stomping ground of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his top ministers when he was in power.

Poilievre himself has his own page on the WEF’s website.

According to the the Anti-Defamation League and others, many of the conspiratorial narratives surrounding the World Economic Forum and the “Great Reset” are similarly rooted in tropes with antisemitic origins.

The term “globalist” specifically is widely-associated with conspiratorial far-right narratives and carries antisemitic connotations.

Neither Leslie’s campaign nor the Conservative Party would comment on its use of the term “globalist” or any connotations it carries. Conservative spokesperson Sarah Fischer previously ranted about secret plots hatched by “globalists” and the WEF on her personal blog.

Earlier this month, Leslie issued a tweet pledging to “never attend the World Economic Forum,” adding that he will “join Pierre Poilievre in working for Canadians, not the special interests of globalists.”

Last year, Bernier released a video acknowledging he attended the World Economic Forum conference in Davos in 2008 and pledging not to “go there in the future.”.

“The PPC has nothing to do with the World Economic Forum and I totally reject their globalist ideology,” Bernier added,

The Conservative campaign flier also cites a 2016 PressProgress story detailing Bernier’s past expressions of support for China’s Communist government and its commitment to “less government and more freedom.”

Voters in Portage-Lisgar will head to the polls on Monday.


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Luke LeBrun
Luke LeBrun is the Editor of PressProgress. His reporting focuses on the federal political scene, right-wing politics as well as issues in technology, media and culture.

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