- Below is an excerpt of an MTL Blog interview with Maxime Bernier in which the People's Party of Canada leader discusses his controversial tweets about teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.
- Stay tuned for our full discussion with Bernier about his party, views, and the upcoming election.
If you follow Canadian politics, you might have noticed a series of tweets from People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier this Monday where he called out Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg.
Stating that she is the "international mascot for climate alarmism," Bernier accused the 16-year old of being "mentally unstable" and that she should be "denounced" for supporting what Bernier claims to be "radical leftist" point of view.
Two days later, Bernier backtracked on his criticism of Thunberg and said that his goal wasn't to denigrate or insult the young woman or anyone else living with Asperger's.
In its official party platform, the People's Party of Canada states that "the policy debate about global warming is not grounded in science anymore. It has been hijacked by proponents of big government who are using crude propaganda techniques to impose their views."
Maxime Bernier stopped by the offices of MTL Blog this morning to discuss the tweets and his stance on climate change. Here's what he had to say.
Questions and responses have been edited for clarity.
This is one part of a larger interview with People's Party of Canada leader, Maxime Bernier. MTL Blog will release a full interview with Bernier, as well as candidates from other federal parties in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
You got a lot of backlash for those tweets on Monday. What do you have to say to potential voters who might see those tweets and think you have questionable opinions?
I must admit that I used her personal health in that tweet and I think that was a mistake. But still, everyone, including her, her parents, and organizations always talk about her personal health. Even climate alarmist people are using that also.
I think she's a kind of a shield so that they don't have a real debate about the climate and they're using her to promote their message.
It's a mistake that organizations are using her personal health and it was a mistake that I did that too.
She's a very courageous girl. You know, she decided to be a public figure with a message and we must have the right to critique that message.
Right now, they're saying there's a climate emergency that's so important that you shouldn't debate about it.
I don't think the climate debate is closed — we need to debate to have a good democracy. When she says that she wants everyone to panic and feel the fears that she has and says that it'll be the end of the world, I don't believe that. They say that every 10 years.
There's no climate emergency and my position on that is that the climate is always changing. The main reason is not because of human activities or economic development. It's a factor but there's a lot of different reasons.
Radical leftists and radical environmental activists don't want us to debate. They're saying it's urgent and that we should panic and we should act. No — we must debate it first. We don't base public policies on fears. We must base public policies on facts and science.
You said you did not mean to denigrate Thunberg but wanted to criticize an alarmist view of climate change. There are thousands of students in Montreal that have protested to demand action on climate change — would you call them mentally unstable as well?
No, no. I didn't call her mentally unstable — I'm just repeating what she says herself. But, it wasn't a good thing to do and I made a mistake with that.
That being said, Trudeau, Minister McKenna, and Elizabeth May all agree with her that there's a climate emergency but I don't agree with them.
We must look at the future with a more positive and optimistic view. Let's have a real debate about the climate, not based on emotion, but based on facts and maybe they would change their position.
What would you say to the students who are protesting for action on climate change?
We're in a democracy — you have the right to protest if you want to. Though, if they don't believe what I'm saying, that's okay, don't vote for me.
I'm asking them to look further, to do some research. I mean, what's happening today, seriously? Where is the climate crisis? What's happening in the environment that people think the apocalypse will happen in a year from now?
If they want to protest about it, that's okay, but let's have a real debate. If you want to have action on climate change, look to your provincial government, not the federal. If you don't like what we're saying, don't vote for us.
The difference between us and the other parties is that we're not trying to please anybody. If you like it, vote for us, if not, there are other parties, vote for them.
Stay tuned for our complete interview with Maxime Bernier.