“It was political repression,” Maxime Bernier Discusses his Arrest in Manitoba

Written By Karl Fluri, Posted on June 16, 2021

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021, I sat down with Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), to discuss his arrest in Manitoba, his fight to end the lockdowns, and how the PPC is preparing for what is likely a fast-approaching election.

Mr. Bernier was arrested in St Pierre Jolys, Friday, June 11th, after attending a “rally” which photographs confirm was attended by no more than a dozen people, including Bernier and his team. In discussing his arrest, there appeared to be a clear element of premeditation in the intentions of the province to have him arrested that day; regardless of the situation at hand.

Bernier said:

I was in Edmonton [on Thursday]… the head of the Department of Health in Manitoba sent me a letter saying I’m not welcome in Manitoba, and if I’m coming to Manitoba I will have to quarantine for 15 days and stay in my hotel

My answer on twitter was very direct, I said, ‘I have a constitutional right to travel across the country, and I’ll do it’. So we publicized my tour in Manitoba, and I started my first event… after that event, I received 2 tickets; one for having a meeting, outdoors, in a park, with more than five persons; and the second was for me not being at my hotel for quarantine… and they said if you go to your second event, that was St Pierre Jolys… there’s a risk that you’ll be arrested. 

After that I called my lawyers… and they told me that what you’re doing, it’s your constitutional right, you have the right to speak. You’re free to express your point of view, and you have the right to also have a meeting outside… but it’s your own risk, 

So we did that event. We were, with myself, maybe 9 people there; you can see the photo, social distancing in a park…  and nobody received a ticket, but after that event the police came, and you saw the video, they arrested me, handcuffed me, and treated me like a criminal.

It was political repression, as you know the Premier of Manitoba, Mr. Pallister, did a press conference on Thursday…  and he said ‘if Bernier is there he will have to pay and his wallet will be a lighter, so he will have to open his wallet’… he didn’t like having any opposition. It’s like being in China, you know, you are a dissident and they are putting you in jail.

To many, including Bernier, this move was seen as entirely political. A way for those in power to more easily keep power, Bernier going on to say:

You know I’m a politician, we will have an electoral campaign in Canada, maybe this fall…  and they didn’t allow me to campaign. You do that in a communist country, you’re not supposed to do that in Canada. So, I’ll be in court on July 27th, and I can tell you that I will win that case for sure, not only for me but for all Canadians that believe in freedom; I think it’s more important. We don’t want to have these unconstitutional, illegal, unscientific… lockdowns anymore. I am doing that fight in public opinion, but now I will be doing that fight in court also.

Bernier is represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), and if he is able to win his case this will set a precedent for all Canadians, whether politicians, reporters, event organizers, or just everyday citizens, who have been charged under these draconian measures to possibly see true justice achieved or at the least have a fighting chance.


The clear suppression of Canadians both in public spaces, and online through Bill C-10, are bringing up major concerns of the rise of authoritarianism in Canada. Another concern brought up by Bernier was the rollout of vaccine passports, as seen in Manitoba,

About the vaccine, yes, the journalists try to say that Bernier is anti-vaccine. I’m not… we are for freedom of choice, and everybody must be free to decide if they want the vaccine or not with the right information… the most important for us at the PPC, we are against the vaccine passport. Absolutely. It will create two kinds of citizens: the vaccinated ones and the unvaccinated ones, and the vaccinated ones will have privileges… that is not a way to be in a free, open, and democratic society… It’s unfair, it’s illegal in a democratic country… We will fight, I don’t want to live in a, “show me your papers” society, like in a communist country. That’s not the way that we must be in a free and open country, having different kinds of citizens, and that will be the impact.

Throughout the fight against lockdowns and vaccine passports, Max and the PPC have seen growth in grassroots support at these rallies across the country, though it isn’t clear yet how this arrest will affect the party’s ability to organize these types of events in the future, and whether the government’s attempt to threaten participants with arrest will work on the masses.

(Photo from the Toronto Star)

(Photo from the Toronto Star)

Mr. Bernier believes that the PPC will see significant growth in the coming election, whether that be sooner (and therefore more focused on lockdowns), or later; and states that he will be prepared with a full slate of candidates by September 1st, in case of an election in the fall.

When asked about his colleagues in the End the Lockdown Caucus, and whether fellow members such as Derek Sloan and Randy Hillier might be considering joining the PPC, Bernier stated:

We had a great relationship in the End the Lockdown, national non-partisan caucus, Randy, Derek, myself, and other politicians… and that is important work, ending the lockdown is a policy that we have at the PPC… but also we’ll be able to speak about the equalization formula, cancel culture, free speech; we have a comprehensive platform. We have a vision for this country, with a smaller government, more freedom, more personal responsibility, and we want to make sure that Canadians will understand our platform and support us, so that will be an interesting campaign, but it will not be only on ending the lockdowns.

I must say that I had a discussion with Derek Sloan. I said that publicly on Twitter, privately to him, I said you know our doors are open. If you want to come with us, let’s sit together and have a discussion about your role in the PPC, but… I think he decided not to come with us, we never had that discussion… I think he wants to start a new political party and I will wish him good luck, but he will be one of my opponents during the next campaign.

I hope that we can have an agreement… I think he’s a great member of parliament. I like Derek, we’ve had a good conversation before and I hope I’ll be able to have a conversation about his role with us. But he didn’t say to me that he is building his own party, what I know is what some people are telling me… we will see what will happen, but I did my effort to bring him with us at the PPC, and the offer is still there.

Clearly, the PPC platform is much broader than that of the caucus, and ending the lockdowns, alone; also focusing on other more long-term forward-looking portions of their platform. It’s also increasingly apparent that Derek Sloan may have aspirations for a party of his own. With all of these forces coming into play, a fall election would surely be an exciting one, with what is likely to be some new players across the country. 


There are many signs that we will see a fairly broad shift away from the more traditional parties, as Canadians grow increasingly dissatisfied with the lockdown measures, and the collusion between mainstream parties to all but eliminate differences between each other, leaving Canadians with only the semblance of a choice; regardless of the outcome, this should be a very interesting election season.

Below is the full clip of the interview of Maxime Bernier on the Chance of Fluri show.

Karl Fluri

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