In recent years, Maxime Bernier has found himself on the fringes of Canadian politics. Once a foreign minister, the far-right politician, who has been compared to Donald Trump, lost his seat in the House of Commons in 2019. He is known internationally for insulting climate activist Greta Thunberg when she was 16 years old on Twitter.
But now Bernier and his People’s Party of Canada could play a big role as spoilers in the Sept. 20 federal election. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the snap poll in the hope of capitalizing on his Liberal government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic to regain a parliamentary majority, but he has faced a surprisingly tight race against the opposition Conservative Party, led by Erin O’Toole. The two largest parties are neck-and-neck in the final week of campaigning.
By splitting the right-of-center vote, Bernier could break the deadlock and give a boost to Trudeau, whom he recently derided as a “fascist psychopath.” (Trudeau has condemned Bernier’s rhetoric as irresponsible.)