Maxime Bernier became the first leader of a federal political party to visit Chatham-Kent this election cycle, headlining a People’s Party rally at the Ultimate Sports Bar on St. Clair Street Wednesday.
And though his party has no seats and is often described as fringe, high turnout in Chatham – and other stops during the day in Sarnia, Inwood, London and Aylmer – show harnessing the "No More Lockdowns" sentiment has helped the PPC find support in Southwestern Ontario.
Bernierwas joined by local PCC candidates Liz Vallee for Chatham-Kent-Leamington and Brian Everaert from Sarnia-Lambton. Independent MPP Randy Hillier also made the journey.
Numerous chants of “PPC” and “freedom” broke out throughout the leader’s speech to go along with a steady series of honks from passing cars and trucks. Bernier also hammered the “segregation” theme, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has divided Canada “by race, by gender, by religion… And now by our vaccination status.”
He added since vaccinated people can still spread COVID he saw no point to a vaccine mandate, ignoring overwhelming statistics which show vaccinated people are much less likely to get seriously ill if they suffer a breakthrough infection. Bernier also claimed there will be unlimited COVID booster shots in the future.
Media organizations were also targeted by the PPC leader, particularly CBC, CTV and participants in the Local Journalism Initiative. “We want the media to be independent, not dependent on the government,” says Bernier, adding that in a capitalist society if an organization cannot survive on its own it should fail.
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent