Maxime Bernier pans supply-management during P.E.I. stop
Federal Tory leadership candidate says dairy system 'unfair to Canadian families'
One day after dairy farmers in P.E.I. lobbied to preserve the industry's supply-management system, federal Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier reiterated his opposition to it.
Bernier, the MP for Beauce, Que., was in Charlottetown Friday drumming up support for his leadership.
The Conservative party supports the supply-managed agriculture sector, which essentially protects dairy farmers by preventing an oversupply of the marker that would drive down prices.
If you want to speak for Canadians and lower the price of their groceries, you cannot support supply management.– Maxime Bernier
But Bernier wants to change that policy, calling it "unfair" to Canadian families.
"I'm in favour of free markets because it's always better for the population and I'm speaking for the 35 million Canadians who are paying an artificially high price for their poultry eggs and milk," he said.
"So if you want to speak for Canadians and lower the price of their groceries, you cannot support supply management."
'A smaller government'
Bernier is speaking against the longstanding Conservative policy because he said people — including Islanders who have traditionally supported the federal Liberal party — will follow a politician who "speaks and acts in line with his principles."
He also thinks the Conservative party needs to get back to its core values.
"I think we can have a smaller government, a limited government, a more efficient government, so when you have less government you have more freedom, and when you have more freedom you have more prosperity."
The Conservatives will elect a new leader to replace Stephen Harper on May 27, 2017. Three people have declared their candidacy so far: Bernier, Ontario MPs Kellie Leitch and Michael Chong.
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