TORONTO – While the Canadian People’s Party did not win any seats in this federal election, the rise of the far-right populist party cannot be overlooked, experts say, as the popular vote has been earned.
Maxime Bernier, who failed to win his ride of Beauce, Ky., said on Monday that he would remain as party leader despite the defeat, telling Granthshala News’s Genevieve Beauchemin at his Saskatoon rally that he would like to see the election result. See it as “a big win”. “
The PPC this time won over 820,000 votes and over five per cent of the popular vote, a significant increase from the 1.6 per cent it received in 2019.
Populism finds a home
The party that runs on an anti-immigration, anti-lockdown platform supported by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far-right groups, a home for anti-vax, anti-government protesters and gun rights activists poses, showing that University of Guelph professor of political science Tamara Smalls said populism on the left or right can be more about a movement than a traditional political party.
“I think the only leader who is excited about last night’s results is Bernier,” Smalls said in a telephone interview with Granthshala.ca after the election. “I don’t think they’re going anywhere … they seem to have taken that populism and linked it to far-right politics.”
Smalls said the idea of Canadian exceptionalism needed to be moved away from far-right and populist movements.
“There used to be the idea that Canada was immune to far-right populism … the idea that Canadians were going to break free of the populism we saw in Europe, like Nigel Farage is to the UK,” Smalls said. said. “But I think a lot of people are wondering, if that [Bernier] Just going to say ‘I’m not here to form the government… I’m here to challenge the system'” as a way to garner support.
Barbara Perry, director of the Center on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, said it makes sense to call the PPC a populist party, and that the party “takes an extremist position on things like immigration and diversity.”
“They are extreme in terms of their anti-Trudeau or anti-state position. They are also extreme in terms of their anti-lockdown and anti-tax attitudes. So, yes, I think they can absolutely be considered extremists,” Perry said in a telephone interview with Granthshala.ca.
“As they are being called a populist group or a populist party, because in reality what they have done so effectively is to fight against COVID-19 and freedom and even economic concerns, loss of jobs, businesses. Absorbs some of the more mainstream concerns about harm. …and managed to roll them all up. “
Some who support the PPC with the implication that the party is a center of far-right rhetoric or white nationalist supporters, many online say they simply support a party that is dedicated to their independence.
In an email to Granthshala.ca, Wilfred Danzinger, the PPC candidate for the Parkdale-High Park Onts ride, denied that the party was aligned with extremist values, writing that “love is the guiding principle of their campaign.” was,” and that his supporters all come from “different sexual preferences, of all ages and religions.”
When Granthshala.ca emailed the PPC for comment on this story, party spokesman Martin Massey sent a one-line response: “I do not respond to requests from left-wing activists as journalists. Go to hell.”
COVID-19 was a ‘gift’ for PPC
Evan Balgord, executive director of Canada’s Anti-Hate Network, said the PPC’s rise in polls can be partly attributed to the “gift” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Balgord said the “COVID-19 pandemic was a gift to the far-right” because it allowed him to infiltrate the realms of conspiracy theory and begin attracting new followers.
“The rise of the party fits in because these people really had no political party. If they voted for a party they would vote for the Conservatives.” But they aren’t particularly happy about voting for the Conservatives Because they are the most fringe. So when the PCC started as a party in 2019, Bernier had been using his language, his point of view and in many places far-right words from day one. We saw they actually say ‘Bernier is the dog whistle for us.'”
But Smalls questioned whether the end of the COVID-19 pandemic would stop the arrival of PPC followers and lead to a significant decline in the party.
“My understanding is that a lot of this anger and worry is tied into a particular kind of anger about the lockdowns and vaccine mandates and state redundancies,” Smalls said. “I’m not sure to what extent the party still exists, once the pandemic is over.”
This is a sentiment echoed by militancy researcher and assistant professor at Queen’s University, Amarnath Amarasingam.
Amarasingam said in a telephone interview with Granthshala.ca, “In early 2020, with COVID-19, the kind of conspiratorial thinking and anger around the pandemic went through the roof, and a lot of these movements were of similar views. gathered around.” Traditionally conspiracy movements generally operate separately from one another.
Amarasingam said the COVID-19 pandemic “gave a common cause to all of them and they were all playing on the same playing field.”
Amarasingam said the question now surrounding the PPC is whether its rise is entirely due to the “catch-all” the party has provided given the lockdown, quarantine and the anger surrounding the pandemic, “or whether it will surface”. Something bubbling under it indicates that a lot of everyday Canadians actually have clandestine anti-immigrant views, anti-refugee groups, all things that are part of the PPC platform. “
“If that’s the case, I mean, it’s going to be a long-standing concern for us,” he continued. “So the big question like this is whether this is just a setback due to the pandemic or does it speak to something else that we should be worried about.”
hated the ballots
Bernier has always denied ties to or affiliation with any far-right, white supremacist and neo-Nazi rhetoric he is accused of staging with his stances on things like reduced immigration and the abolishing of the Multiculturalism Act.
However, Balgard stated that known neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups support the party, and that the party is populated with a group of candidates, insiders and supporters who have been vilified by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network from far-right groups. are documented as members of.
“There are too many examples,” he said. “It is not some isolated incident, it is a pattern. That’s what PPC is for.”
Balgord made reference to more than 10 incidents of PPC candidates or party affiliates engaging in far-right rhetoric or being part of white nationalist groups exposed by work done by Canadian anti-hate networks.
Balgord noted that the man who was accused of throwing gravel at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while campaigning as a Liberal leader was a riding director for the PPC, and that his organization had exposed him first “Posting white power music on social media accounts with lyrics about killing immigrants.”
Another example listed by Balgord was the PPC candidate for Vaughan-Woodbridge’s Ontario ride, which was exposed by press progress This month it was reportedly to spoof and create a video game where users can re-enact the 1999 Columbine shooting massacre and participate in their own shootings of caricatures of minorities and LGBTQ2S+ people.
Bernier himself painted on it what Balgard describes as “Anti-Semitic Blog Collective”, which endorses a book full of terrorist Nazi ideologies.
The PPC forum itself is also chock-full of “dog whistles” for the far-right, Balgord, Amarsingam and Perry said, referencing sections on refugees, immigration and “Canadian identity”.
“I think Canada’s identity is tied to anti-immigration, anti-refugee material,” Amarasingam said. “But I know when someone says Canadian identity, especially with everything else that’s going on on stage, it’s potential for the PPC to basically mean ‘The Great Replacement,’ but around Canadian values. “
The Great Replacement Theory is a conspiracy prevalent among white nationalist and far-right groups that holds that a shadowy cabal is behind the demographic change in a country or region, and that “white identity” or “Western values” are in decline because of it. Huh.
Balgord said it is known for terrorist attacks such as the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings.
“When we talk about the PPC, it is necessary to talk about white supremacy and their relationship with white nationalism and how dangerous the matter is, they are not just another political party, right?” Balgord said. “They are white nationalists and there are hate movements in Canada. This is their way of trying to gain a foothold in Canadian mainstream politics.”
Perry notes that Bernier has specifically used his word choices of “government overreach, tyranny and authoritarian government” in his campaigns, in tweets, and even in his speech on election night.
“Look at some language. It’s taken from groups like the three percent … in particular the militia movement,” Perry said. “So, yeah, a very straight line. It’s not a dotted line. It’s a straight line.”
But when asked about the PPC and Bernier’s denial of accusations of extremist views, Balgard was unhappy.
“PPC is a party of laudable denial,” he said….