Bernier was born in Saint-Georges, Quebec, the son of Doris (Rodrigue) and Gilles Bernier, a well-known radio host, who represented the riding of Beauce from 1984 to 1997. Bernier is the father of two teenage daughters. Since 2010, he has been in a relationship with Catherine Letarte, a National Ballet School-trained ballerina, who worked for a women’s shelter and currently runs a community center for adults living with mental health issues. Bernier and Letarte married in the summer of 2019.
Prior to entering politics, Bernier held positions in the fields of law, finance, and banking. First elected to the Canadian House of Commons as a Conservative, Bernier served as Minister of Industry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, which later became the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture in the cabinet of then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Bernier resigned from the Conservative Party after citing disagreements with Andrew Scheer’s leadership to form his own party. He held a press conference where he declared that the Conservative Party was “too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed” and was afraid to address important issues or articulate a coherent philosophy. His new party was named the People’s Party of Canada on September 2018.
During the 2019 campaign, Bernier proposed reductions in federal income tax; called for a reduction of the federal role in healthcare and the replacement of the Canada Health Transfer; while adding he would do “nothing” to address climate change, and called for Canada to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on carbon emissions. Bernier is the only federal party leader represented in the House of Commons to reject the scientific consensus on climate change.