POLITICS
04/23/2018 17:03 EDT | Updated 04/23/2018 17:21 EDT

Trudeau Tells Scheer To 'Stop Censoring' Maxime Bernier

The prime minister really wanted to read that book.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question in the House of Commons on June 5, 2017 as Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer looks on.
Adrian Wyld/CP
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question in the House of Commons on June 5, 2017 as Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer looks on.

It seems Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was really looking forward to reading Maxime Bernier's book.

In question period Monday, Trudeau got a rise out of Conservatives by alluding to how the Quebec Conservative MP, who finished a close second to Andrew Scheer in last year's leadership contest, has indefinitely shelved a book on his vision for Canada.

"Quite frankly I find it a bit rich that the members opposite are complaining about secrets," Trudeau said in response to a question from Scheer. "Perhaps... the leader of the opposition should stop censoring the member from Beauce."

Bernier announced last week that he would not move forward with publishing the tome after a leaked chapter ruffled feathers among some members of the Tory caucus. He wrote that Scheer won last spring in large part due to "fake Conservatives" who joined the party to stop Bernier, who pledged to dismantle Canada's supply management system for dairy and poultry.

In a series of tweets last week, Bernier said he was pressing pause on the project in the interest of "maintaining harmony" in the party. His publisher later told HuffPost Canada that he wanted Tory members to remember Bernier won the popular vote in last year's contest.

Trudeau's jab came after Scheer pressed the prime minister on the government's plan for a national carbon tax. Tories are demanding the Liberals reveal how much money a $50 per tonne carbon price will cost an average Canadian family once it comes into force in January.

'Doubling down on Stephen Harper's failed approach'

Tory finance critic Pierre Poilievre says data on the possible impact of the carbon price, based on household consumption data and across different income levels, was blacked out of documents he received through an access to information request.

"And the excuse for blocking it out was that just that information alone would damage the Canadian economy," Scheer told the House of Commons. "So if that information alone would damage the economy, how bad will the carbon tax be for the economy?"

"It's disappointing to see in 2018 the Conservatives still doubling down on Stephen Harper's failed approach, not understanding that putting a price on carbon pollution is the way to build a strong economy for the future," Trudeau shot back.

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Liberals also poked fun at the Bernier book after question period last Thursday when Liberal MP Steven MacKinnon rose on a point of order to ask Tories to "free the book" written by Bernier.

The Quebec MP responded by calling Liberals desperate. Bernier said it was his decision not to publish and asked Liberals to be patient.

"One day, I will write something," Bernier said.

With a file from The Canadian Press