Canada People's Party Poll Surge Shows Voters 'Fed Up' With Establishment, Leader Bernier Says
06:28 GMT 15.09.2021 (Updated: 07:57 GMT 15.09.2021)
TORONTO (Sputnik) - The People's Party of Canada (PPC) has surged in the polls recently because voters are fed up with government control including mandatory COVID measures and want to send a strong message to the establishment, PPC Leader Maxime Bernier told Sputnik.
Most pollsters have popular support for the PPC, founded by Bernier just three years ago, ranging from 5 to 11 percent, launching the conservative populist party into fourth place with less than a week before the 20 September election. Although the PPC only won 1.6% of the vote in 2019, it could play a spoiler role this time around by splitting the right-of-centre vote and preventing the Conservative Party from unseating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's
"I believe that people want to send a strong signal to these establishment politicians - they don't want more government control. I believe they want more freedom", Bernier said. "I believe that some of our candidates will be elected and we will have a real freedom voice in Ottawa, a common sense voice in Ottawa that will be ready to fight for all Canadians".
The PPC has vehemently opposed mandatory vaccination measures, including those for all federal government employees and inter-provincial travellers as well as plans to introduce proof of immunisation documents, better known as "vaccine passports".
Bernier said Canadians are "fed up" with mask mandates, which are still in place in most parts of the country despite its high vaccination rates, as well as talk of mandatory vaccination and vaccine passports.
In addition to a strong ground game and social media outreach, Bernier credited the party's rise to a backlash from sparse coverage by traditional news sources along with exclusion from the two national leaders' recent debates. He also cited exclusion from the debates as evidence of a political system that refuses to change.
"That was not a debate… that was conversation between socialist leaders", Bernier, who has sought to position the PPC as the authentic conservative party and distinguish it from the established Conservative Party of Canada, said.
Meanwhile, Bernier is pushing back against assertions that the national election campaign is getting "ugly", as some have claimed.
While polls show that 80 percent of Canadians support vaccine passports in their province, the conversation around the public health mandates is growing increasingly
The heated debate has led to ugly scenes at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign stops and other settings around the country, including an incident where the Liberal Party leader was pelted with gravel during a stop in London, Ontario.
Many have pointed fingers at the PPC and its supporters for the increased vitriol. The People's Party booted a party official over allegations they were responsible for the gravel-throwing incident. The official has since been charged with assault with a weapon.
The PPC chief, who himself was egged during a stop in Saskatchewan, emphasised that politically motivated violence is unacceptable, but noted that it is Trudeau who must own the increased divisiveness.
"You have a prime minister that is the most divisive prime minister in the history of our country", Bernier concluded.
PPC CANDIDATES ALL IN AS CAMPAIGN ENTERS FINAL WEEK
As Canada's 44th election campaign enters the home stretch, David Freiheit, who is running as a PPC candidate in the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Westmount, told Sputnik, that he, along with other PPC candidates, is looking to build on the momentum.
Freiheit said "suppression" of the PPC messaging is a doubled-edged sword, with the information vacuum enticing voters to get to know the party through alternative means.
"To some extent, the media suppression helps drive the growth as well because people have seen the way media works… and tend to… place more value, more credibility on the voices that get more overtly suppressed", Freiheit, a former commercial litigator-turned-political YouTuber, said, noting that voters are increasingly frustrated by the perceived status quo in the country's political system.
Freiheit added that he believes there is no "meaningful opposition" in Canada, underscoring that little separates the Liberal, Conservative, New Democrat, and Green Parties from one another.
Likewise, Gilbert Jubinville, a PPC candidate in the riding of Oakville-North Burlington - located 40 minutes west of Toronto - cited the party's stance on vaccine passports as well as a libertarian approach to free speech and economic policy as the reason he chose to campaign on behalf of the party.