People’s Party anti-immigration policies may doom it in Fraser Valley: professor

Local candidate says party needs more attention and isn’t populist or alt-right

With the federal election creeping closer, the People’s Party of Canada appears unlikely to seriously challenge the Conservatives’ hold on the Fraser Valley’s pivotal right-wing vote, a local political science professor says.

But one of the PPC’s local candidates says such negative forecasts discount the party’s true potential and popularity of its ideas.

When former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier’s new party got going in the spring, University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford thought it had a chance to affect the outcome of this fall’s federal election.

But with the party unable to make a dent in the polls, Telford said the party’s struggles have shown the challenges of being a new right-wing party.

“The party has not taken off and been a factor in the way that I thought it might,” Telford told The News. Even in Conservative strongholds, the PPC has seemingly been unable to draw voters away from the Conservatives.

Telford suggested that could be in part because of conservative voters unsurprising conservatism.

Even though Bernier only narrowly lost out to Andrew Scheer in the contest for Conservatives’ leadership, Telford said that party’s long-time voters might be inherently resistant to forsaking an established party for a new, less-predictable one.

Telford said anti-immigration statements by Bernier and PPC candidates are also likely to stall the party’s prospects. Bernier has called for the end of “mass immigration” and an end to “official multiculturalism.” (The number of immigrants admitted to Canada has recently been between 0.7 and one per cent of the country’s population.)

“Anti immigration policies tend to be more popular in places where there tends to be lower levels of immigrants,” Telford said. “I think it’s hard to run here on an anti-immigration platform and succeed.”

In the last census, immigrants accounted for 27.6 per cent of Abbotsford’s population.

Nick Csaszar, the PPC candidate in the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding, said internal polling suggests Canadians are receptive to the party’s policies, but that many know little about the party .

“Roughly speaking, 10 per cent of Canadians actually know who we are,” he said. Another third of the country has a distorted view of the party or limited information, he said.

Changing that, he said, is the key to the party’s fortunes.

“Our strategy is to get known,” he said, adding that it is imperative that Bernier have a spot in this fall’s upcoming leaders debates.

Although Bernier has railed against “globalists” and suggested Canada needs to reduce immigration, Csaszar said it’s inaccurate to call the party “populist” or link it to alt-right and fringe groups.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

Csaszar said polling has shown the party’s policies are attractive to those who haven’t voted in the past and to people across the political spectrum.

At the same time, Csaszar suggested his party is a potential home for right-wing voters who believe that the Conservatives have “drifted to the left.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Local Liberal MP Jati Sidhu says he forgives Trudeau for brownface photos

Sidhu says Trudeau ‘didn’t know any better’ and that photos will prompt discussion

Local Liberal candidate says ad showing him with Abbotsford police officer was ‘not acceptable’

Jati Sidhu said advertisement only appeared for 30 minutes and was created by Montreal company

Cache Creek councillor has committee appointments rescinded

Council also presented with need for roof repairs to Cache Creek fire hall

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

HUB Online Network finding its feet, documenting the region

New venture already has nearly three dozen videos up on YouTube channel

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read