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 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

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. announces signage along Alberta border to discourage non-essential travel

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Alberta begins rolling out AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for those aged 40 or older

There are more than 70 pharmacies offering AstraZeneca, including 26 offering walk-in appointments

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Most Read