UPDATE: 2:30 p.m.
A shock announcement rocked the Conservative Party convention in Halifax today as high profile Quebec MP Maxime Bernier quit and said he’d form his own party.
North Okanagan Shuswap MP Mel Arnold is attending the convention and says it has only hardened his party’s resolve to fight to win next year’s federal election.
“Max has made his choice to move on and do something different but we are going to focus here on our goal that we’ve had since the 2015 election and that is to form a Conservative government,” says Arnold.
His comments to Beach Radio News followed a Tory caucus meeting in Halifax.
Arnold rejects a suggestion Bernier’s move will damage the Conservatives and insists members of the party are 100 percent behind federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
Conservative Party members from across Canada are in Halifax to debate party policy and prepare for next year’s federal election.
North Okanagan Shuswap Tory MP Mel Arnold is there, but isn’t sure what issues will be most contentious.
He says immigration will be one topic of debate.
“The immigration issue is contentious right across the country. We’re seeing the high costs being downloaded onto provinces and cities because of this, and the uncertainty that it has created,” Arnold tells Beach Radio News
Arnold says members are looking to come up with a resolution on the issue which has created divide within the party.
Bernier, who is former leadership contender, says he disagrees with the direction of party leader Andrew Scheer, saying Scheer has abandoned Conservative supporters out of fear of criticism from the left and the media.
He adds the Conservative Party has nothing of substance to offer Canadians looking for a political alternative.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer says Bernier is more interested in advancing his own profile and has decided to help Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.