Bernier touts himself as the only politician to want truly free trade with U.S.

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier says he's the only politician in Ottawa who supports truly free trade with the U.S., and while it's not his role to negotiate NAFTA with U.S. President Donald Trump, he thinks it's ``sad'' he's the only one who wants to put supply management on the trading table.

In the weeks following Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's decision to strip Bernier of his critic role, the Beauce MP has maintained a pretty low profile.

But as trade tensions increase between Canada and the U.S., the staunch advocate of ending Canada's supply management system for milk, eggs and poultry, a program popular with dairy farmers in Quebec, including in his riding, feels compelled to speak up.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, he said every political party in Ottawa wants to keep the very system that Trump wants axed, and that intransigence is preventing Canada from reaching a deal.

The U.S. administration has frequently lashed out at Canada's system for controlling the price and supply of dairy, eggs and chicken, but Canada has adamantly and repeatedly insisted that's not on the table.

In a fundraising email sent recently to supporters, Bernier wrote that he's the ``only politician in Ottawa who says we should sit down with Trump and start meaningful negotiations, instead of playing politics with the 20 per cent of our economy that depends on trade with the US.''