The People’s Party of Canada leader, Maxime Bernier, on American-based online talk show The Rubin Report last week. Image courtesy of the Rubin Report.
A political whirlwind is set to blow across Canada in 2019.
Not only will Albertans go to the polls in the spring, but the nation will rally together in the fall to decide the fate of the Liberal majority in Ottawa.
The polls are fairly split on what might happen.
The Conservatives held a narrow lead in popularity at times in 2018, but the Liberals could just as easily return to office with a minority government.
The wildcard in this equation is Maxime Bernier, former Cabinet minister under PM Stephen Harper, and the leader of the Progressive Conservative leadership in 2017 if two per cent of voters changed their minds.
He was ousted from the Conservative Party last year over his pointed statements about diversity and the Quebec dairy farmers during trade disagreements with the United States.
Bernier quickly cooked up his own political party, the People’s Party of Canada, and hopes to have candidates in each federal riding by the election.
Sound like a pipedream to you?
But the People’s Party of Canada is trying to carve out their own supporter base by calling themselves the true Conservative voice in the election, amidst the current PC leadership of Andrew Scheer, who Bernier isn’t too fond of.
The Canadian press has been quiet on the PPC, and as you might expect there are calls that the party is far-right and merely echoes other populist movements around the globe.
But while the media is quiet up north, Bernier launched himself onto one of the more popular shows online in the marketplace of ideas – to use such a pretentious term – especially in the United States.
The Rubin Report, hosted by Dave Rubin, had Bernier on for an hour discussing his platform, political philosophy, and the Canadian political climate.
He reached a tuned-in audience of over 100,000 people online who are craving (at least some) more than pious political platitudes and cheap campaign slogans.
He sounded articulate and politically experienced. He appeared reasonable and sought allies with the likes of liberterians, free market enthuasists, and Jordan Peterson.
While all is quiet on the western front, it’s good timing for Mad Max.
The Conservatives are caught into this outrageous political attack ad scandal – they did a spoof of a Canadian Heritage Minute with Trudeau’s transgressions and awkward handshakes, which, while funny, comes off in poor taste – and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh may not even win his seat in an upcoming byelection.
Trudeau fatigue, at least in every direction you look out west, is in full swing.
And while many political tricks are up each party’s sleeve, more people seem to fed up with the traditional politics we have to date.
Does that mean Bernier’s anti-political correctness and personal responsibility fuelled platform could land on an open Canadian mind by the fall?
Yes, but that comes after many of these ridings are filled.
For example, there is no PPC candidate (or any non-PC party) declared for the 2019 federal election in the Lakeland – or any Alberta riding at the moment.
A big hurdle to climb.
Not to mention, Bernier seems to court controversy.
He resigned from Harper’s cabinet after leaving classified documents at his girlfriend’s house (amateurish) and that girlfriend, Julie Couillard, reportedly had ties to Quebec’s notorious biker gangs (yikes).
He tweets and does not play nice with the Canadian media, refuting claims by journalists or interviewers. He isn’t big on social or environmental policy, either.
That tied with flying the banner of a brand new party and unproven politicians does not read like grandma’s recipe for success.
But Bernier is getting out there and talking to people of influence, and in a time of political unease, it could have a bigger impact than you’d expect.