Bernier pulls book that accuses Scheer of using 'fake Conservatives' to win leadership

Maxime Bernier has agreed to pull from distribution his controversial book accusing Andrew Scheer of winning the Conservative party leadership with the help of "fake Conservatives," CBC News has learned.
Maxime Bernier, left, congratulates Andrew Scheer for winning the Conservative leadership in Toronto, May 27, 2017. Bernier is pulling from distribution a book that claims Scheer relied on the support of 'fake Conservatives' to win. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Maxime Bernier says he is indefinitely suspending publication of his new book in order to preserve unity in the Conservative Party.

Earlier this month, Bernier publicly released a chapter of the book which accused Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer of winning the party's leadership race with the support of "fake Conservatives" who were only interested in bring Bernier down because of his stance on supply management.

Several Conservatives publicly questioned whether Bernier was challenging Scheer's leadership.

As CBC News first reported, Bernier told a Conservative caucus meeting on Wednesday that he was pulling the book. In a series of tweets later in the day, Bernier explained his decision.

"I realize that whatever I write, it will always be interpreted as me creating division and challenging our leader. "

Bernier wrote that the book was intended to focus on ideas, not the leadership campaign.

"After consideration, for the sake of maintaining harmony within our party, I have decided to postpone its publication indefinitely."

Bernier, who narrowly lost the leadership to Scheer in the 13th round of voting in May 2017, angered many members of the party when he released the chapter of his book, Doing Politics Differently: My Vision for Canada, that dissected his defeat. In it, Bernier claims that Scheer's victory was due in large part to his support for supply management.

Contacted by CBC, Scheer's office declined comment.

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Bernier vowed during the leadership campaign to do away with the supply management system that he maintains leads to higher prices for dairy products. He claims in his book that Quebec dairy farmers signed up large numbers of "fake Conservatives" who put Scheer over the top.

He also wrote that while he had promised Scheer he would "keep quiet" on his views on supply management after the leadership race, he had since changed his mind.

"I will never again say the opposite of what I believe and pretend this is a good system just for the sake of party unity," he wrote.

Bernier first told CBC News last fall of his plans to release the book, which he said would include the victory speech he never got to give. The book was scheduled for release in the fall of 2018.

Neither Bernier nor his publisher returned immediate requests for comment.

Reached for comment, Bernier's publisher, Dean Baxendale, declined to comment on the decision to pull the book. Asked if the"indefinite suspension" meant Bernier would have to repay any advance he might have received, Baxendale said that while he couldn't reveal any personal financial information, "there is nothing to worry about."

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