SHOCKING: Maxime Bernier building waterfront villa on tropical island

Maxime Bernier has purchased land and begun construction on a waterfront villa on Sanibel Island, Florida, according to an official deed and construction permits exclusively obtained by The Counter Signal

SHOCKING: Maxime Bernier building waterfront villa on tropical island

The island property was purchased just months before the populist leader launched his most recent bid for office in a rural Manitoba riding, with serious construction and upgrades to the tropical oasis beginning only recently. 

The deed to the villa, obtained by The Counter Signal

The deed was quietly assigned to his wife, Catherine Letarte, in February 2023, shortly before the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader asked the constituents of Portage-Lisgar to elect him, despite his secret purchase of a private retreat 3,000 kilometers to the south. 

At the time, Bernier was asked if he would be moving to the isolated rural riding, with journalists unaware of his recent purchase. Bernier claimed, “absolutely! I had couple of discussions with my wife, and I believe that she’s on my side on that!” (sic). 

“I’ll be there full-time,” he added. 

Whether that meant in the isolated rural riding or on his waterfront villa is now up for debate.

In Bernier’s defense, there is a small chance his wife purchased the $1.1 million (CAD) villa without his knowledge; however, that does seem unlikely. 

Crystal blue ocean and the Sanibel Island Causeway, connecting Benier’s island property to the mainland (courtesy of Joseph Thomas)

Luxury villa

While the property features an outdoor pool, spa, boat launch, and sun room, the interior is in need of extensive renovations, seemingly having fallen victim to Hurricane Ian while in the hands of its previous owners.

In other words, it’s not the kind of property someone buys when they have a full time job and a political commitment in another country.

That being said, there is nothing like a blank slate (so long as you have a pile of cash and time to kill). 

The posh neighbourhood features some of the most expensive real estate in the tropics, with their neighbours’ home being valued at $2.88 million and the family across the road soaking in the sun on a $4.1 million estate.

According to a party staffer, Bernier’s inner circle was blindsided by his decision to purchase the foreign property.

Bernier’s salary

Bernier’s salary in 2023 has not been disclosed, and the PPC would not comment on the matter when asked. It is also not clear what Bernier does for the party while not campaigning.

In 2022, the PPC raised over $1.5 million from donors eager for Bernier to challenge the Trudeau Liberals and the Conservative Party of Canada, which many loyal PPC supporters considered equally corrupt, entitled, and out of touch with the plight of middle-class Canadians.

The PPC has claimed $196,939 of travel expenses in a single year. The Counter Signal has asked the PPC and Bernier if he uses party funds to travel from his villa to Canada and has not received a response.

Man-of-the-people image

Political spectators have been questioning why the populist fire-brand decided against personally running in the current by-election in Toronto-St. Paul’s and instead opted to field the relatively unknown Dennis Wilson. 

One possible explanation is that the writ-period conflicted with really important upgrades Bernier had planned for his boat dock and seawall on the perimeter of his Florida villa. Bernier’s wife filed with Lee County on June 7th to begin construction to ensure the family has continued nautical access to the Gulf of Mexico.

Construction permits filed by Bernier’s wife to reconstruct the seawall and dock on the island property.

A former Conservative Party nomination candidate, Wyatt Claypool, recently speculated that the PPC operates more like a scam than a legitimate political entity.

Claypool published a lengthy video in March, arguing that Bernier doesn’t actually want to win a seat in Parliament, stating that Bernier’s strategy doesn’t focus on winning ridings but rather on hosting rallies across the country with already secured party supporters.

“The PPC has taken in millions of dollars of donations and yet Bernier has basically bent over backwards to make sure he never actually wins a seat!” Claypool stated.

The Counter Signal reached out to Bernier and to the People’s Party of Canada for comment, and will update this story if a response is received.

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