Bernier in Renfrew to help expand the People’s Party of Canada

·6 min read

Renfrew -- Maxime “Max” Bernier, founding member and leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), was in Renfrew last Wednesday and his arrival was part of the PPC’s ambitious goal of adding 100 more names to a growing list of vetted and official candidates who will represent their riding whenever the next federal election is called.

“Right now we have 100 candidates in place and they are building their own individual teams that will be ready to replace the Liberal party as the federal government and replace them with PPC members to form our next national government,” he told the Leader in an exclusive interview.

“Some people will say that Bernier is a madman for thinking he can form a government when the PPC is around the same level of support as the Green Party,” he continued. “Well let me tell you something…the Green Party has been around for 40 years and all they have accomplished was electing one member after 25 years and have remained around four percent most of their existence.”

Expanding Party Base and Candidates

Although Mr. Bernier used the Green Party as an example of political movements, he was in Renfrew to address about 120 people jammed into the second floor hall at Karras Restaurant. His goal was to promote the PPC and attract new members.

“Along with our candidates, we are building towards a new national government because we don’t flip-flop on our policies during, or in between elections like most parties do,” he said. “Sadly, most Canadians accept it as normal when a politician lies or completely reverses their party’s core policy because a focus group suggested it would help them in the polls.”

He said Canadians are not only becoming desensitized to the actions of some politicians, but they are frustrated that issues like the cost of living or energy policies are being drowned out when politicians declare a climate crisis emergency.

“Canada produces less than two percent of all greenhouse gases into the environment and we are not in a climate emergency,” he said. “The PPC would immediately withdraw from the Paris Accord and not bankrupt Canadians on wild, unfair carbon tax policies while India and China remain the biggest polluters out there.

“Canadians are looking for someone they can trust. They want a leader and elected members who will not stray far from policies adopted through its grassroots membership. Both our policies and our four founding principles remain the same as they did when we formed the PPC in 2018.”

Forming The PPC

The fit 60-year old former MP served as minister for various departments (Foreign Affairs, Industry and others) while a member of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. First elected in 2006 in the riding of Beauce, PQ, a riding his father Gilles Bernier held from 1984 to 1997, Mr. Bernier quickly established himself as an independent thinker who did not always tow the party line.

When he served as Minister of Industry for 15 months after his appointment in February 2006, he successfully began the process of deregulating major portions of the telecommunications sector and his tenure is still widely respected among all political stripes with some arguing that “he was without challenge the best Industry Minister in 30 years.”

When he ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2017, he was actually the front-runner when he led eventual winner Andrew Scheer through 12 rounds of voting, but he eventually finished second with over 49 per cent in the 13th round.

While he remained a party member under Mr. Scheer’s leadership, he was very public in his criticisms of the new leadership team and argued the views of the 49 percent who voted for him were not being represented in the party’s revised policies.

That disenchantment led to him leaving the party in 2018 to form the PPC.

The young PPC finished far behind the other major parties in subsequent elections. The party garnered only 1.64 percent of the popular vote in 2019 and after the 2021 election, the PPC tripled its support to 4.94 percent of the vote.

That total moved the party from fifth to fourth and surpassed the Greens who captured 2.33 percent of the popular vote.

Although the PPC has yet to elect a member in the two recent elections, Mr. Bernier shrugs off the pundits and says the PPC will have a roster of candidates from across Canada because Canadians are helping to grow the party because of its common-sense approach to politics.

“Our platform reflects the hopes of every day Canadians, but you wouldn’t know it because the mainstream media outlets will not report on our policies,” he said. “When they do, they accuse us of attracting radicals. That is false. We are the only party that does not wait to set our agenda based on how a focus group that was formed by a political party will make recommendations based on their party’s agenda that particular week. We don’t commission polls and focus groups every time we have to make a decision. We make policy decisions that reflect 21st century Canadian values.”

Among some the PPC policies that have attracted criticism or controversy are:

· Substantially lower the total number of immigrants and refugees Canada accepts every year, from 500,000 planned by the Liberal government in 2025, to between 100,000 and 150,000;

· Reduce the number of refugees and eliminate the program allowing parents and grandparents to enter based on family members;

· Privatize or dismantle the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation;

· Withdraw Canadian involvement in the Ukrainian War and support immediate peace talks;

· Withdraw from all UN contributions that threaten Canadian sovereignty.

Local Membership

Renfrew resident David Ainsworth, who co-hosted the town hall meeting with the PPC leader, has represented the PPC in the last two elections. Both times he failed to replace longtime MP Cheryl Gallant as the riding’s representative. Both Mr. Ainsworth and Mr. Bernier were asked how they would defeat the MP who has steamrolled over all competitors since she captured the long-held Liberal riding in 2000.

“One thing we will not do is get down in the gutter if challenged, because you can’t fool the voters by constantly changing a stance on the issues,” Mr. Ainsworth said. “That is something that sets us apart and we strive to be genuine and authentic. Most of all you have to listen to your constituents and respect their opinion.”

Mr. Bernier said the entire political process comes down to membership strength and consistency.

“I thanked a group of our members during a meeting last week,” he said. “I thanked them for donating their time and efforts. I told them it is their dedication to our platform that will help us get elected and form the next government. I believe we always have to offer hope and a positive platform. Our party will not be involved in the politics of division and forcing people into separate camps. Members like David (Ainsworth) who always remain positive and try to help fellow Canadians with issues like inflation and the cost of energy will help us form the next, including abolishing the program f=

Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader