I can practically visualize readers wincing over this headline. But yes, it's true.
National Post columnist Conrad Black has indeed described the People's Party of Canada leader as "probably the most impressive of the party leaders".
Not only that, but Black characterized Maxime Bernier's program as the "best" in many respects.
A company created by Black and former business partner David Radler, Hollinger Inc., created the National Post in 1998 back when they owned most of the large daily English-language newspapers in Canada, including the Vancouver Sun and Province.
Bernier is the only federal leader who's publicly declared that he won't be taking the COVID-19 vaccination.
The People's Party of Canada platform has this to say about COVID-19: "Lockdowns, mask mandates, school closures, and other authoritarian sanitary measures have not had any noticeable effect on the course of the pandemic. Regions or countries that implemented strict measures have been as impacted as those that did not."
Therefore, if Bernier's party forms government, it would fire Teresa Tam, who is Canada's chief public health officer. In addition, it would repeal vaccine mandates and regular testing for federal civil servants and those who working federally regulated industries.
If Bernier were prime minister, his government would also withdraw from the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, stop sending money to developing countries to help them curb emissions, and abolish the national carbon tax and subsidies for green technologies.
Bernier would repeal the Multiculturalism Act and eliminate all funding to promote multiculturalism. Immigration would be slashed to 100,000 to 150,000 per year, which is far lower than the Trudeau government's target of more than 400,000 per year.
And on it goes on the People's Party of Canada website. This is the "best" program, according to Black.
Why does all of this matter, considering the People's Party of Canada's low standing of the polls.
Precisely because Black's imprimatur will give Bernier more credibility on the right, helping him peel away votes from the Conservatives under Erin O'Toole's leadership.
The CBC poll tracker currently has O'Toole's Conservatives at 34 percent, which is a modest lead over the Justin Trudeau Liberals at 31.3 percent.
The People's Party of Canada stands at 4.4 percent in the CBC poll tracker. If those 4.4. percent of Bernier supporters were to migrate en masse to the Conservatives, it would put O'Toole in range of securing a majority government.
But as long as Bernier retains his supporters, it has the potential to keep O'Toole in a minority in Parliament, even if the Conservatives win the most seats.
Currently, Bernier is touring B.C. with the message "A vote for O'Toole is a vote for Trudeau."
So in a way, Conrad Black has just done a favour for the Trudeau Liberals with his recent column. He's given Bernier a boost.
Who knows if that will lead to more financial contributions and more volunteers joining the People's Party of Canada?
Black still has a powerful grip on the minds of right wingers in Canada, notwithstanding his 6.5-year prison sentence in 2007 for ripping off shareholders. Black always maintained his innocence despite damning testimony from his former business partner, Radler. Eventually Black secured a presidential pardon from Donald Trump.
There's a certain irony in Black's recent column.
He created the National Post to help unite the right in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the Jean Chrétien Liberals out of power more than 20 years ago. But now, in an odd way, in the very same newspaper, he just might have enhanced the Trudeau Liberals' likelihood of retaining control over the government.
I wonder if that ever crossed Black's mind when he penned that comment about Bernier being the "best".