« It’s nice to see someone in Ottawa interested in debating issues that are worth debating. »

National Post
Maxime Bernier gives us a policy debate, like it or not

With the exception of Maxime Bernier rising to the defence of Tony Clement on the census issue, it has been a very mavericky year for the former Cabinet star. Although I disagree with the bulk of what he has said, it’s nice to see someone in Ottawa interested in debating issues that are worth debating.

Issue: Bill 101
Bernier Position (Feb 2011): “We don’t need Bill 101 to protect the French language.”
Conservative Position: “Taisez-vous!”

Issue: National Securities Regulator
Bernier Position (Jan 2011): “I personally believe that securities regulation is a provincial responsibility.”
Conservative Position: Jim Flaherty has spent the better part of the past three years arguing for a national securities regulator.

Issue: Cutting transfer payments to the provinces
Bernier Position (Oct 2010): “Instead of sending money to the provinces, Ottawa would cut its taxes and let them use the fiscal room that has been vacated.”
Conservative Position: When it comes to government, the bigger the better.

Issue: Federal government intervention into provincial areas of jurisdiction.
Bernier Position (Oct 2010): “The federal government today intervenes massively in provincial jurisdictions, and in particular in health and education, two areas where it has no constitutional legitimacy whatsoever. This is not what the Fathers of Confederation had intended.”
Conservative Position: John A. was a Conservative. I think we know what he intended.

Issue: Sports arena funding
Bernier Position (Sept 2010): “We cannot continue in this way to pass on to our children the bills for all the projects that we cannot afford to pay ourselves. We cannot continue to distribute ever larger amounts of money to please everyone and buy social peace, while refusing to face the consequences. We cannot ask governments to manage our money in a responsible manner while at the same time demanding that they devote some more money to an irresponsible venture that will benefit us.”
Conservative Position: Go Nords Go!

Issue: Climate change
Bernier Position (Feb 2010): “We can now see that it’s possible to be a ‘skeptic,’ or in any case to keep an open mind, on just about all the main aspects of warming theory. It would certainly be irresponsible to spend billions of dollars and impose exaggeratedly severe regulations to solve a problem whose gravity we’re still far from discerning.”
Conservative Position: As Bernier suggests, doing nothing…but placing a nicer spin on it.

Issue: Government Spending
Bernier Position (Jan 2010): “And I’m not saying zero growth adjusted for inflation and population or GDP increase. Just zero growth.”
Conservative Position: Spending up around 40% during Harper’s time in power.