WARREN: Bernier’s move comes with pros and cons for all parties

So far 2018 has been one of the biggest years for political blockbuster announcements and news events in recent Canadian history.

Last Thursday we saw another bombshell go off as the man who almost became Leader of the Opposition, Maxine Bernier, quit the Conservatives. In the process he thoroughly attacked its leader Andrew Scheer and pledged to start his own new national party.

Newton’s third law of motion is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In turn, one of my adopted laws is that every problem creates an opportunity for something positive.

Bernier’s decision will change the political landscape and create both problems and positives for each of the political parties. A summary of each of them is below.

Conservatives: Bernier’s decision to leave and start his own party is a blow to a united Conservative party. Scheer will now spend his time trying to right the Tory ship and spend time fighting battles within his party instead of fighting with Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.

The positive is Scheer does have time. If Bernier had pulled this stunt on the eve of an election – or worse during it – it would have been a death-blow. With over a year before voters go to the polls, Scheer could use the defection of a renegade as a rallying tool to build a stronger and united Conservative Party.

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Liberals: The positives for Liberals is the official opposition is now a house divided and this should give them some breathing room in the run up to the next election. It will be difficult for a party fighting within itself to develop a credible plan to unseat Trudeau. That being said, don’t think for one second think this hands the Liberals another majority. This is a very different fracture in the right than the Reform Party/Tory fights of the 1990s.

The negative impact is the path to a majority just became a lot rockier. Another party based in Quebec creates more uncertainty in vote splits which may or may not help the Liberals.

New Democrats: This development is perhaps the biggest blow to Jagmeet Singh. Bernier will be another native Quebecer as a federal party leader and that makes it almost impossible for the NDP to make inroads in Quebec. It’s hard to see any positives for the Orange party unless they can somehow use the conflict to position themselves as the real opposition. This will be difficult.

Bloc Quebecois: The positive for the Bloc is that Bernier’s action are making Quebec relevant again, which is a plus for them. The bad news is if Bernier can get some real traction in building a new national Quebec-based party then the Bloc will themselves become irrelevant.

The first real test for Bernier will be to see if he can run credible candidates and a campaign in the upcoming by-elections in Outremont, Burnaby South and Leeds Greenville.

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It will be interesting to see if someone like Kevin O’Leary decides to re-enter politics for his old friend Max. O’Leary, you will recall, pulled out of the Conservative leadership race to endorse Bernier for leader.

Bernier will need to have some short-term wins if he wants to keep the momentum going from the past few weeks. He has blown up parts of the Conservative party. It is clear he has created some big problems for all of his political opponents.

What isn’t clear is who will turn this political problem into a big opportunity to win the 2019 federal election.

Jim Warren is a Liberal strategist who previously worked for Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies