OTTAWA — Maxime Bernier says the policies of his new political party will not include anything to do with abortion or gender identity.
Bernier is defending the appointment of former Christian talk show host Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson to be the first candidate for the People's Party of Canada, which he founded after parting ways with the Conservative party in August.
Tyler Thompson will run in the Burnaby South byelection in British Columbia next month, with the party's candidates for other February byelections in Ontario and Quebec likely to be named next week.
Tyler Thompson has in the last two years become a vocal critic of B.C.'s curriculum on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, calling it her "hill to die on" in a column she wrote last July.
Bernier has marched in pride parades and is known to be pro-choice but would not say where he specifically stands on the issue of teaching gender identity in schools, calling it a matter under provincial jurisdiction.
He says only that Tyler Thompson is entitled to her opinions but she knows social-conservative issues will not be part of the party platform for the 2019 election.