VOTE: Do you think the Conservative party has abandoned its core values?

Maxime Bernier

After a tumultuous relationship with his Conservative colleagues, Quebec MP Maxime Bernier announced he will be leaving the party with the goal of forming his own political party, based around the idea of “promoting Conservative values.”

“I didn’t change. It’s the party that changed,” Bernier told reporters in Ottawa on Thursday. “I have come to realize over the past year that this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed.”

The core of Bernier’s reasoning for leaving the Tories is the party’s abandonment of “real Conservative ideas” under leader Andrew Scheer, the man Bernier lost the party leadership race to in 2017.

“What we will get…is just a more moderate version of the disastrous Trudeau government,” Bernier said. “Under the current leadership, it has all but abandoned its core Conservative principles.”

Some of these principles that Bernier outlined in his announcement include Conservative support for retaliatory tariffs against the U.S., supply management and corporate subsidies. Bernier said he is the only caucus member who is against a trade war with the U.S. and the only one “fighting for Canadian consumers.”

“Buying votes in a few key markets is more important than defending Canadians,” Bernier said about the existing PC party. “Canadians are tired of paying taxes to bail out, bombardier, ford and other businesses.”

I still cannot understand how a party that is supposed to defend free markets supports a small cartel that artificially increases the price of milk, chicken and eggs for millions of Canadian consumers,” Bernier said.

RELATED: A look at Maxime Bernier’s musings over the last 10 years

The MP sparked significant controversy after making public comments related to immigration and “extreme multiculturalism” in Canada, which resulted in criticism within the Conservative party, including Scheer and immigration critic Michelle Rempel.

“The Trudeau government is focusing on diversity…I’m not against that,” Bernier said. “The goal should be unity and diversity.”

Bernier went on to say ethnic differences should not be “exploited for votes.”

Andrew Scheer

In response to Bernier’s announcement, Scheer told reporters in Halifax the MP’s decision was motivated by his desire to advance his “personal profile.”

“I’ve always challenged him to put personal ambition aside,” Scheer said. “He is more important than his Conservative colleagues.”

The Tory leader also said the Conservative party has given Bernier “every opportunity” to bring his ideas forward, which Scheer says he never did.

“He has chosen to abandon the best alternative to the Liberal party,” Scheer said. “I don’t take it personally, I think this is something he would have done no matter what.”

What do you think of the existing Conservative party under Andrew Scheer? Vote in the poll above and leave your thoughts in the comments below.