Maxime Bernier seeks Elections Canada investigation into Conservative-financed smear campaign

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      People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has issued a thundering denunciation of Andrew Scheer following revelations of a campaign to discredit his party.

      The Globe and Mail disclosed that the Conservatives hired former Jean Chrétien speechwriter Warren Kinsella's company, the Daisy Group, to undermine Canadians' confidence in Bernier's People's Party of Canada.

      The consulting company's campaign, which was launched in mid-April into the summer, portrayed the People's Party of Canada as racist by highlighting previous statements by its candidates.

      The Daisy Group also set up a Twitter account, @Stampotogether, to put Bernier on the defensive.

      The Daisy Group's website includes a long list of its clients but it doesn't mention the Conservative party among them.

      Bernier is also incensed over a Rhinocerous party candidate who shares his name and who's running against him in the Quebec riding of Beauce.

      Bernier wants to know if Kinsella's company or the Conservatives played any role in this political development.

      The People's Party of Canada leader has asked Elections Canada to conduct an investigation.

      At his news conference today, Bernier pointed to Scheer's refusal to admit to hiring Kinsella's company as proof of his guilt.

      Scheer repeatedly sidestepped this question from reporters on eight occasions, saying his party doesn't reveal the identity of companies that it has contracted to do business.

      Afrer the Globe and Mail story appeared online, Bernier issued the following statement over Twitter:

      "I am astounded and shocked to learn that Andrew Scheer and Hamish Marshall paid professional mud-throwers to discredit our party. This is an attack on the integrity of our democratic process.

      "We have long suspected that many of the supposed scandals that his us during the past months were manufactured by opponents. The Globe and Mail story proves that the constant accusations of racism, the suspicious resignations by party executives and candidates, the fake letters and emails, and many other stories, were likely arranged by Warren Kinsella for his Conservative clients.

      "I left the CPC after I realized it had become morally and intellectually corrupt. Who can now doubt it?"

      Bernier narrowly lost the Conservative party leadership race to Scheer on the 13th ballot in 2017. Bernier was leading through the first 12 ballots.

      Update

      Warren Kinsella posted a statement on his website saying that he's "proud to oppose bigots like Berner, paid or not".

      "And the client who wanted to expose and oppose bigotry?" he continued. "They deserve credit, not criticism."

      He wouldn't divulge the identity of the client, declaring that lawyers like himself "are not permitted to simply break vows of confidentiality".

      "Only the client can let you do that," Kinsella stated. "The client, here, hasn't."

      The work ended many months ago, according to Kinsella, who insisted that it was always going to be disclosed by law. He also stated that this work was "in no way inappropriate or wrong".

      He added that he's been "researching, writing about, and opposing racism for more than three decades" before claiming that the PPC is "indusputably racist".

      "They are bigots. They have anti-Semitic and homophobic members. If someone wants to join forces with me to beat Bernier, I will always welcome it."

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