Coffee and tea were served with a side of politics this week at a People’s Party of Canada information session. Just under fifty people gathered in a room at the Lloydminster Exhibition Association on Thursday, May 2 to hear out an alternative vision for Canada.
The PPC formed last year after Maxime Bernier split from the Conservative Party of Canada. The former CPC leadership candidate cited the party becoming too “intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed” in his resignation speech. His new party aims to have a candidate in all 338 federal ridings ahead of the next election.
The riding of Battlefords-Lloydminster is currently represented by Rosemarie Falk of the CPC. This fledgeling party has an electoral district association in the riding, led by the former president of the tories’ EDA, Terry Caldwell. He’s served as EDA president under both current MP Rosemarie Falk and former MP Gerry Ritz. He says that his concerns about vote splitting were eventually settled by a sense of integrity from the party.
“I saw Maxime as a person of integrity. I think he was going to stick to his word no matter what and didn’t want to pander to all these special interest groups, and make Canada great,” says Caldwell.
Caldwell says that vote splitting is a concern among many voters he’s spoken to. He holds that the way the polls look right now show that it’s just not how things will turn out, and not a real threat to the CPC’s standing above the Trudeau Liberals. On top of this, Caldwell believes that many are coming to understand the need for an alternative between the CPC and LPC.
“I think we’re going to be outweighing what the conservative are. I think that once the conservatives really see that Andrew (Scheer) is not really doing it, and is doing the same thing the Liberal party has been doing for the last couple years, and pandering to people he shouldn’t be pandering to, just saying things to get votes, then things will change.”
The PPC presents itself as a common sense alternative to politics. While the party’s platform isn’t finalized yet, Bernier has said it won’t include socially conservative policies would not be included. He has also mentioned ending supply management, ending corporate welfare, government intervention in general and taxation reform.
Another issue mentioned by the PPC is immigration reform. Caldwell says that the party is against illegal immigration and that it’s an injustice for immigrants waiting to enter Canada legally.
“We want immigration, we just want legal immigration. People are waiting in the queue for a long, long time getting disappointed because people crossed illegally and need to be dealt with. Things like that need to be dealt with.”
The information session was relatively small, and it may be an uphill battle getting the party’s name out there. The party has been held by the CPC since 2003 and represented by Gerry Ritz since 1997. Caldwell says that there’s a lot of work ahead of them, but he’s optimistic that voters are open to their message.
“We have lots of Conservative members working in our midst. A lot of Liberal and NDP, which surprised me, in the membership now see that this might be a common sense party that they can really believe in.”