He speaks their language
Smiling Max the popular business minister
Conservative Minister Maxime Bernier likes to deliver shock speeches.
He does it every time he’s in Montreal, and it goes over well with the business community (or at least what remains of it.)
This week, Bernier delivered another political morality lesson to a Montreal audience.
The message was simple: Quebec should stop begging money from the federal government. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has no more money to give Quebec, must have been pleased.
Ontario and Quebec are the two provinces that receive the least equalization money per capita from the federal government. Harper likes it like that. You never hear Bernier telling Alberta or Saskatchewan to stop asking for more money.
It's weird, but in a strange way, the thought of Bernier telling Quebeckers they have to stop beggaring Ottawa makes him sound like one of those “Let’s-stand-alone” Péquistes.
It doesn’t seem to matter to Bernier if Quebec becomes smaller and poorer, provided that its economy is more efficient, and it is able to stand on its own two feet as the Parti Québécois is always saying.
Bernier is full of the Beauceron pride of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps that he is spreading across the entire province.
Bernier is full of unusual ideas that make him popular in some circles and have other circles telling him he’s way off base.
One time Bernier said that yearly federal budget expenditures should be frozen forever at $250 billion, no matter which party is in power.
But what do you do if there’s a war like Afghanistan, or a recession like the one we had in 2008?
He also likes to say that Quebeckers must accept Anglophones as an integral part of the population, and their existence as part of Quebec's history, its culture, and everything else that is Quebec.
The Quebec Anglos like to hear that. It shows that Bernier doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, but it’s not the same Quebec that everybody else knows.
Small wonder that this most unusual Quebec minister gets invited to so many Quebec Anglo gatherings. Bully for him.