People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier loses Quebec riding of Beauce

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      In 2017, Maxime Bernier came within a whisker of winning the Conservative leadership.

      But tonight, he's unemployed after losing his own seat in the sprawling Quebec riding of Beauce.

      Bernier stormed out of the Conservative caucus and formed the People's Party of Canada in August 2018, claiming the Conservatives were "too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed".

      Conservative Richard Lehoux has a nearly 4,000-vote lead with 150 of 242 polls reporting.

      "I accept with humility and I want to congratulate the new member," Bernier said in a concession speech.

      He added that his heart goes out to the 315 PPC candidates across the country, who also lost. Bernier blamed this, in part, on "nasty and shameless attacks from our opponents".

      "What they did was not in vain," Bernier said. "What we managed to accomplish in only one year is spectacular."

      The PPC called for an end to "mass immigration" and "extreme multiculturalism", prompting accusations that the party was racist.

      Bernier adamantly rejected that allegation throughout the campaign.

      Last weekend, the Globe and Mail reported that the Conservative Party of Canada hired a consulting firm headed by Warren Kinsella to "destroy" the PPC's reputation.

      Bernier held the foreign affairs, industry, and minister of state for small business and tourism in Conservative governments led by Stephen Harper.