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Canada moves closer to his federal election on Monday, with Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party and Erin O 'Toole's Conservative Party in a tight race for first place. But the once-marginal People's Party of Canada has emerged as a potential spoiler , riding a wave of anti-containment sentiment and the vaccine mandate.
In 2018, after a falling out with his party and in the midst of a backlash over the statements he made on immigration and multiculturalism, the deputyAt the time Maxime Bernier left the Conservatives and formed his own federal party.
Mr. Bernier, former Canadian foreign minister, is a populist with a libertarian bent whom supporters have dubbed "Mad Max ". He has previously described his upstart party, the People's Party of Canada (PPC), as a coalition of people "disenchanted with mainstream politicians".
The PPC has a broad platform that includes limiting immigration, ending corporate welfare, a pro-gun stance and a rejection of what He calls it "climate change alarmism ".
However, one problem above all arose in the 2021 elections: vaccination mandates and blockages.
Mr. Bernier, 58, has been a vocal opponent of what he calls "authoritarian" restrictions, saying for example at a rally in August that vaccine passports "will create two types of citizens, cersome with more rights than others. ”
Such statements are " a big part of the story behind the push [for the PPC] "said Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant , professor of political studies at Queens University.
"Much of this was generated by the party seizing the feeling that anti-containment and anti-vaccine passport sentiments exist in the population. "
Poll data suggests this message is gaining traction among some Canadian voters even though the country has some of the highest vaccination rates in the world - over 80% .
Recent CBC tracking poll numbers, for example, ranked the PPC in fourth place nationally at 6.5% - ahead of the Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois, which only presents candidates in Quebec. (Liberals and Conservatives are tied statistic at around 30%).
In the 2019 elections, by comparison, the PPC only won 1.6% of the popular vote and Mr. Bernier lost his own seat.
A significant portion of the party's growing support base comes from first-time or irregular voters, as well as Conservative support in parts of their political strongholds in western Canada, said Professor Goodyear-Grant.
"They are taking some support from all the other parties as well, which suggests that there are people in all parties who are opposed to some of the [pandemic] measures that have been put in place. in place, "she said.
Provinces such as Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia have all put in place in recent weeks vaccination passport systems which limit access in certain contexts depending on the case increase in a fourth pandemic wave.
Among those who have shifted their support for PPC are Scott Green, a 32-year-old city councilor in Latch Ford, a small town in Ontario. >
While Mr Green says he has been a supporter of Mr Bernier since his time with the Tories, he believes the pandemic restrictions imposed by many provinces are pushing voters towards the party.
"I am fully vaccinated and I believe in science " he told Hfrance.fr. "But with compulsory vaccinations, you cannot eat in a restaurant, [or go] at the movies or at a sporting event unless you are fully immunized. "
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Additionally, Mr Green highlighted the PPC's stance on closures, which he says have crippled businesses and led to a wave of evils social workers in Ontario.
"The lockdowns have been so hard on businesses, and no one is talking about theopiates, suicide or depression that comes with it, "he said. " [The PPC] is talking about it and trying to get attention back. This is a crisis. "
Steven Weldon, director of the Center for Public Opinion and Advocacy Studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, said that several factors limit how the party can be a "spoiler " the next election.
As an example, Mr. Weldon noted that certain aspects of the party 'The platform form can make it unpleasant for many Canadian voters - even some of those who are against the Covid-19 mandates.
In the case of the Conservatives, he said, the party is probably " better off "by not trying to take harsher anti-mandate or anti-immigrant positions in an attempt to prevent people from switching allegiances.
" Conservatives have a hard time dealing with this, but if they were to do it then they would lose more of thosewhich fall in the middle of the ideological spectrum, "he said.
Mr Weldon added that the PPC has " fewer votes "because of its relatively small size and fact that support is spread across the country. Poll models suggest that its candidates are unlikely to win seats.
Bernadette Bosse, a 4 cabinet director of 3-year-old council in Calgary, Alta. said she was among those who would vote for Mr. Bernier's party if it was an option, but there are no PPC candidates running where she lives. She's gone for the Tories instead.
But Ms Bosse thinks more people would vote PPC if they had candidates in all 338 federal districts. in 312.
"I think we have some traction " she said.
In the long term, it remains to be seen whether the PPC will continue to gain support even in a post-pandemic Canada.
"We are losing sight of that because we " We are in the midst of elections and the pandemic, "Professor Goodyear-Grant said. " When the pandemic problem is removed, I think you will would expect some of the support to dissipate. "
Mr Weldon, for his part, said he expects the party to " pivot " back to its home platform.
"Will [the end of the pandemic] take off? Probably not, "he said.
" I think they're just going to change the messaging to somehow conform to a typical radical right-wing party. What defines these parties is first and foremost an opposition to immigration. This is what they showed up on in 2019, so they will come back to this. "