'I want to be Prime Minister': Bernier pitches his new federal party in Saskatoon

Maxime Bernier has traversed the country collecting support for the People's Party of Canada ahead of the 2019 federal elections. He stopped into the CBC Saskatoon Newsroom to chat about his policies, including immigration and corporate subsidies.

Bernier's cross country tour stopped in Saskatoon on November 29

Maxime Bernier speaks about his new political party during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Maxime Bernier's cross country tour to gather support for his People's Party of Canada arrived in the Bridge City Thursday.

Bernier's goal is to have candidates representing the PPC in every riding in the country during next year's federal election. He said the party has associations ready to go in 241 of the 338 federal ridings.

"We have people that are believing our ideas, that are helping us and because of these people, we are there," Bernier said.

He addressed concerns that perhaps his candidacy will split the right-wing vote and leave Justin Trudeau in power for another election cycle.

"That's not what I want to do. I want to be Prime Minister, I want to be the guy that will bring these changes," Bernier said.

He said people who want to see "bold reform and real conservative values" should join his party rather than the Conservatives.

Bernier pointed to Emmanuel Macron, who surprised people in France by starting his own party just one year out of an election and emerging as president.

'We're not anti-immigrant'

Bernier said the PPC is not pushing policies that reflect anti-immigrant values.

"It is not true, they just have to go look at our policy," Bernier said. "We know that this country has been built by immigrants, and we want our country to be like that 20 years from now."

He called for a pause on immigration in order to discuss the topic with Canadians.

"We're not for mass immigration, we're not anti-immigration," Bernier said. "We just want to have the same number of immigrants we had under the Stephen Harper government, around 250,000 a year."

Bernier against Bill C-69, corporate subsidies

The PPC leader called for Bill C-69, which he said would make it harder for private corporations to build pipelines, to be spiked.

He said he is also against subsidies granted to corporations.

"I am coming from Quebec, and I said before that we must not give subsidies to Bombardier, we must not bail out GM," Bernier said. "I think people understand that corporate welfare, it's not working, we're the only party that wants to abolish corporate welfare."

He said eliminating such subsisdies would save the country some $5 billion, which he promised to use to lower taxes for entrepreneurs across the country

- With files from Jennifer Quesnel


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