12/01/2016 09:25 EST | Updated 12/01/2016 10:06 EST

Maxime Bernier Lands Endorsement Of Tony Clement For Conservative Leader

Clement dropped out of the race in October.

Conservative leadership hopeful Maxime Bernier has landed the endorsement of former rival Tony Clement.

The pair of former cabinet ministers made the announcement official at a press conference in Ottawa Thursday morning after Clement first shared the news on Twitter.

Bernier called Clement a “giant of the conservative movement,” pointing to his experience in both federal and Ontario provincial politics for 20 years.

Clement is a former Treasury Board president, industry minister, and health minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper. He also served as an Ontario health minister before making the jump to federal politics.

Bernier suggested the Ontario MP will advise him on everything from ending Ottawa's "intrusion into health care," a matter of provincial jurisdiction to cutting down on government spending.

Clement told reporters that Bernier's ideas align with his own on lowering taxes, security, and giving Canadians "more freedom from the nanny state."

Clement says Bernier has 'national reach'

“Max Bernier has the ideas, the experience and the ability not only to lead our party but to lead our country as well,” Clement said.

As a Quebecer who is fluent in both official languages, Clement said Bernier has a "national reach" that will help him take on and defeat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019.

Clement, whose endorsement is arguably the biggest in the race so far, dropped out of the leadership contest in October.

Maxime Bernier makes an announcement on all his endorsements

Posted by The Huffington Post Canada Politics on Thursday, 1 December 2016

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