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

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Kootenay teams heading for curling provincials

Team Buchy and Team Nichols won the senior playdowns.

Trust delivers social grants, several in Trail and Rossland

Columbia Basin Trust supports 31 projects with $680,000 in social grants

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Most Read