London resident and realtor Rob Johnkans’ help for People’s Party of Canada chief Maxime Bernier is steadfast.
“I met him, shook his hand and had a couple minutes conversation with him,” mentioned the longtime Conservative voter. “The guy is solid … I believed in him at that moment. He is who he says he is.”
Johnkans was among the many usually-moderate voters who gravitated towards Bernier’s get together over the last election. Bernier’s assaults on COVID-19 public well being restrictions and vaccine passports appeared to unify a portion of the voters that views pandemic insurance policies as authorities overreach.
With that message, the PPC captured about 5 per cent of the vote nationally, presumably damaging Conservative prospects in some ridings. Moving ahead, nevertheless, it isn’t clear how the get together can keep that help and construct momentum with no illustration within the House of Commons and with the pandemic seemingly to finish earlier than the following election.
Bernier, nevertheless, is defiant and claims he can just do that even within the face of defeat.
“We don’t have anybody in Parliament, but we are the real opposition. If you look at all the ideas we promote, we are the only real conservative party in Canada right now,” he mentioned.
In an interview with CBC News, Bernier rejected claims that his get together gained the help of alt-right extremists by pandering to their views. His platform pledged to clamp down on immigration, increase gun rights, repeal the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and water down laws on discrimination.
Bernier copying Trump’s techniques, critic says
Others who watched the PPC election marketing campaign have a vastly totally different opinion.
Fareed Khan, founding father of the group Canadians United Against Hate, mentioned he believes Bernier used social media through the marketing campaign to mislead Canadians and faucet into alt-right help.
“He demonstrated through his actions during the campaign strategies and tactics right out of the Donald Trump playbook, and that’s what I think he is following,” Khan mentioned.
Bernier lately tweeted the e-mail addresses of a number of journalists who had been masking the PPC marketing campaign.
“They want to play dirty, we will play dirty too,” he wrote to his practically 160,000 followers. Twitter restricted Bernier’s account for 12 hours in response to that tweet.
WATCH | Maxime Bernier on urging supporters to ‘play soiled’ with journalists:
“I think that Mr. Bernier is a danger to the democratic process. Should his support go further, I think it presents a very serious risk to the way politics is done in Canada,” Khan mentioned.
Though Khan expressed concern about Bernier’s rise in reputation within the 2021 election, he mentioned he’s additionally “hoping” that a lot of the PPC’s help was tied to the pandemic — which might not be such an essential issue if and when Bernier runs once more.
Bernier claims vaccines are ‘to defend your self’
In his interview, Bernier confirmed that he has nonetheless not acquired a COVID-19 vaccine and has no plans to achieve this, regardless of the growing prevalence of federal and provincial vaccination mandates.
“No, I’m not,” he mentioned when requested whether or not he is vaccinated. “And I won’t be.”
Bernier additionally inaccurately described vaccines as purely for self-protection — when they’re in actual fact a software to defend group well being from extremely contagious viruses.
“In the history of science, when you decide to take the vaccine is to protect yourself,” Bernier mentioned.
Bernier went on to say that he could legally problem vaccine mandates in the event that they stop him from travelling and performing his duties as PPC chief. Starting Oct. 30, individuals travelling by air, prepare or marine vessel should present proof of vaccination.
“I don’t know. We’ll have to look at it when the time will come,” he mentioned of a doable courtroom problem.
Extremists ‘not welcome’ in PPC, Bernier insists
While politicians’ capability to journey and meet supporters will likely be constrained by the vaccine mandate, Bernier and the PPC mentioned they count on to proceed rising between now and the following federal election.
“We do politics differently. We’re fighting for ideas that we know are the best for the country,” mentioned Daniel Tyrie, the PPC’s government director.
“And as people start to hear them, [they] become more familiar with us, more comfortable with us and understand our ideas and why they’re important. This is how we’ll continue to grow.”
Bernier insisted that he won’t courtroom the help of extremists or white supremacists, although he declined to say how he plans to dissuade these individuals from supporting his get together.
“They’re not welcome in our party. They just have to read our platform,” Bernier mentioned.
Bernier’s rallying cry in opposition to what he known as “tyranny” through the latest election was related to a slogan utilized by a far-right militia group. A neighborhood PPC driving president was additionally eliminated after Justin Trudeau was pelted with gravel at a marketing campaign occasion in London, Ont.
Bernier has indicated there will likely be a vote on his management sooner or later. Tyrie mentioned he expects Bernier to stay the face of the get together, which he based, into the foreseeable future.
“I think Maxime is still a massive figure in the party. He’s been a huge galvanizing figure and has brought so many people into our movement,” Tyrie mentioned.