Bernier’s bonus: “No more political correctness.”

As MP Maxime Bernier continues to build his new party of the far right, he is finding easy hunting in Alberta. The MP from Beauce claims some 30,000 memberships sold to-date and Bernier remains quite confident. The former conservative’s People’s Party of Canada (PPC) is reported to be up and running in eight out of ten Calgary electoral districts.

The political theories that Bernier is espousing are those of a libertarian. He is ultra conservative and preaches a cant of small government and low taxes. He is the same as French President Macron described the other day as a nationalist—the opposite of a patriot. He takes a stand against those who are different. He is opposed to immigration and against foreign aid. Bernier is your basic bigot.

But nobody denies that there is support for a party such as he proposes. He had a good crowd in Vancouver the night before and then again in Calgary the next day. At this stage, he is a novelty but given the funding needed, he could be a force next October. The very fact that he is out looking for acolytes so early, tells us that he is confident of his funding. He will be a thorn for Andrew Scheer and the conservatives.

The novelty for Canadians next year will be having a party supporting the freeing up of restrictions on fire arms. Bernier wants to take us back in time. It will be a strong selling point in the west and in rural Ontario. His biggest problem will be the negatives he will encounter to his wild-west approach in his home province of Quebec.

But people will find that Bernier is most unlike populists such as Doug Ford or Donald Trump. It is hard to stump Bernier with a question. He is an experienced politician. He fully understands the challenges facing him between now and next October.

But, at the same time, Bernier is recognizing the anger and frustration of voters who resent the open liberalism of Canadian society. The very fact that his audiences are mainly male and misogynist tells us where Bernier’s strength might be. Most political pundits are being cautious in assessing Bernier’s chances next year. Given a foothold as a party in the Commons, he could be far more of a problem.

We really do live in interesting times.

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