With polls showing the People’s Party of Canada at only 2% support, it’s understandable that some people doubt the PPC can win the federal election in October. However, current poll numbers do not tell us what the results will be at election time. Public awareness of the PPC will grow dramatically as we approach the election. Fortunately, we have a good proxy to see how well Maxime Bernier will do against Andrew Scheer with an informed group of voters.
Bernier and Scheer were in the final round of the CPC leadership race in 2017, the results were Bernier 49% and Scheer 51%. This may be why Bernier supporters believe that he can win against Scheer in a national election. Scheer won the leadership with support from special interest groups such as the Supply Management cartel. In an open election, Scheer would not have that advantage and Bernier could win.
Scheer has had two years to increase public awareness, giving him a head start. He also has the backing of an established party. But that may not matter if Bernier can get his message out by election time. Bernier has spent months organizing his party with little time or money spent on promotion – now that will change. There will be advertising to promote the party, and active campaigning by over 300 candidates across the country. Bernier has also won the right to be in the televised debates.
Importantly, the PPC will pick up votes beyond traditional conservative supporters, including from people who voted Liberal in the last election. Many people are withdrawing support from Trudeau because he is increasingly seen as corrupt. They may be hesitant to switch to Scheer, a leader who won his party’s leadership through suspicious practices and corrupt influences. Bernier has come out strongly against corruption, and against the payments and benefits to private companies – known as corporate welfare and crony capitalism – that have been the underlying cause of corruption.
There are also voters who supported the Green Party and NDP in the past because they did not like the cozy relationship of the Liberals and Conservatives with big business. These voters will also find a home with the PPC – the only party to oppose Supply Management.
Many people did not vote in the last election, and some have never voted. They will be inspired to vote because Bernier is restoring faith in government. Many PPC candidates, who never thought they would run for office, have also been inspired by the prospect of government that is truly in the people’s interest. These candidates will now help inspire voters across the country.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, Scheer has chosen to shift his Conservative Party from the right to the political center, at a time in history when populist movements worldwide are shifting governments to the right. Scheer may have miscalculated badly. When Scheer began shifting left, his was the only federal conservative party, and he certainly expected it to be the only one at election time. He was wrong, and that may cost him the election. Maxime Bernier stepped into the void on the right with his new People’s Party.
PPC poll numbers will rise, slowly at first and then more quickly as we approach the election. A critical tipping point will come when support for Bernier rises higher than support for Scheer. There are many CPC members who would like to support Bernier, but they fear splitting the conservative vote. If Bernier polls higher than Scheer, there will be a flip over to Bernier.
Maxime Bernier has declared an end to political correctness and is bringing a new honesty and energy to Canadian politics. He has the best experience, the best policy, and the best principles of any of the candidates. PPC party membership shows there is support for the party across the country. Once Canadians become informed, we can only hope they make the right choice.