Listen to the full interview between Andrew Lawton and Maxime Bernier at the bottom of this page.
From cutting income taxes to privatizing Canada Post, Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier has been making waves with his proposals to reduce the size of government, but it’s on supply management that he says he’s the only choice for people who value the free market.
Bernier appeared on AM980’s the Andrew Lawton Show on Thursday afternoon during a campaign stop in London, discussing his plans for the Conservative Party of Canada–and the country–should he get elected.
The Quebec MP and former foreign affairs minister said that supply management, which he termed a “cartel,” is an area that needs action.
“I’m very sad that I’m the only Conservative candidate for the leadership who believes in free markets, and also (is) doing the job to abolish supply management,” Bernier said to Lawton. “All the others–they are scared about the cartel. They don’t want to touch that. They want to keep that. And at the same time, they are saying, you know, ‘We believe in free markets,’ ‘We believe in more freedom.’ But in supply management, for them it’s not good. So I’m very proud to be the only one to fight for Canadians on that.”
Lawton asked how farmers who rely on supply management would meet their bottom lines under Bernier’s plan, to which the candidate said they might end up with more money in their pockets.
“What I’m telling (farmers): ‘You know, you’re having a great product, and a very good product, so I want you to be able to export that,” Bernier said. “At the end, you know, like if you take the example of a dairy producer, the cost for a cow is $3,000, but the cost for being able to sell the milk from that cow is $24,000. So at the end it’s $27,000 that they must pay for that–$24,000 on the piece of paper. And I’m telling them, ‘You’d be able to use that money, because we won’t have any quota anymore, and put that in your production for being more efficient, more productive.'”
Bernier pointed to the success of abolishing supply management in Australia and New Zealand, saying Canadian families could save as much as $500 per year.
He has already introduced policies that he says will shrink government, as well as the taxpayers’ burden to fund it. These include reducing the number of income tax brackets to two with lower rates, privatizing Canada Post, and scaling back the power of the CRTC as a telecom regulator.
On Canada Post, he also touted the value of the free market’s potential to work more effectively than the federal government.
“It’s not an essential service anymore,” he charged. “People–they don’t use their services. And we need to have more competition. There’s a lot of countries who privatized their postal services–in the UK, in Belgium, in Switzerland. So we can do that, and we must do that…. Other corporations will come, will give their services, we’ll have more competition, and at the end we’ll pay less. It’s always like that. When we privatize, you have more competition and it’s good for consumers.
Bernier was in London to speak at a lunchtime meeting of the MacDonald-Cartier Club.