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Maxime Bernier, former Conservative Party member and founder of the People’s Party of Canada, has lost his position as MP for the Beauce riding.
The controversial MP and federal leader, who also served in Stephen Harper’s cabinet as the minister of Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture, had served as Beauce’s Member of Parliament since 2006, having won convincingly as a conservative in four prior elections.
Bernier famously started the People’s Party of Canada following an unsuccessful bid for Conservative Party Leadership, losing to Andrew Scheer by only 645 votes in the 13th round of voting.
Victory for Bernier in Beauce would have meant that the PPC had its first elected Member of Parliament.
Pollsters showed that Bernier’s PPC had a 71 percent chance of winning the riding, with 338 showing a 3.9% lead over Conservative candidate, Richard Lehoux.
Lehoux formerly served as president of the Quebec federation of municipalities (FQM), as well as mayor of Saint-Elzéar, Que., for nearly twenty years before retiring in 2017.
A former dairy farmer, Lehoux was given high praise by Scheer, who called Lehoux a “remarkable” candidate.
In response to Lehoux’s selection to run as a Conservative in his riding, Bernier took to Twitter to criticize Scheer and Lehoux, calling the former mayor a “dairy cartel candidate,” going so far as to demand that Scheer explain to voters in Beauce why they continue to pay “hundreds of dollars more” to “maintain a socialist system adopted by Pierre Trudeau in the 70s.”
The Lehoux victory marks the second time since 1984 that the riding was not represented by someone with the last name “Bernier.” Maxime’s father, Gilles, was MP between 1984 and 1997.