People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier speaks during the Federal leaders French language debate in Gatineau, Que. on Thursday, October 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Wattie

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Canada’s brief brush with the People’s Party of Canada showed that attacking the country’s multiculturalism won’t score a spot in Ottawa, according to Simon Fraser University professors.

“We do hear Canadians concerned about immigration, but the way it was framed with the PPC didn’t resonate with more than a handful of Canadians across the country,” said political science instructor Stewart Prest.

The People’s Party was shut out of the House of Commons, with even leader Maxime Bernier losing the seat he’d held since 2006 in Beauce, Que. His father had held the riding for more than two decades.

Bernier formed the right-leaning party in 2018, after he lost the Conservative leadership race to Andrew Scheer by only a couple percentage points.

The party espoused views that denied climate change and asked for immigration to be cut in half.

On Twitter, Bernier thanked the Canadians who voted for his group, saying the “results were disappointing… but the struggle for a better society never ends.”

Nationally, the People’s Party got just 292,703 votes, or 1.6 per cent. Albertans cast the most, at 2.2 per cent of all ballots cast, while B.C. came in at 1.7 per cent.

That’s a distance sixth place behind the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Bloc Québécois, and Green Party.

However, even if anti-immigration views alone can’t carry a party to Ottawa, Prest said, it doesn’t mean they’re not there.

“It was only four years ago we had members of then-prime minister [Stephen] Harper’s government musing about a barbarian practices tip line,” he noted.

“These conversations can pop up in different centre-right circles.”

Cara Camcastle, who also teaches political science at SFU, said the party’s poor showing sets Canada apart from the U.S., especially in how it responds to immigration.

She said she believes that after this election, where a “fringe” party got less than two per cent of the popular vote, proportional representation should make it back into the discussion.

“This was why the Liberals were so fearful of considering proportional representation,” she said. “[But] it didn’t happen.”

READ MORE: ‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

READ MORE: Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Slideshow: Maple Ridge’s winter wonderland waterways

PHOTOS: Water and wildlife at the Alouette River, Fraser River and Whonnock Lake

Lottery charges against two Maple Ridge women dropped

New information leads Crown to stay proceedings

No tickets and no complaints about downtown sidewalks

One more day of winter as rain approaches

More snow for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Fluffy flakes start falling again

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

VIDEO: Semi driver records 22 crashes in one icy trip from Chilliwack to Abbotsford

‘Treacherous’ morning had emergency crews struggling to reach stranded drivers

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Sub-zero B.C. weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

Most Read