Since the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) was founded by former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier in September 2018, they’ve been a party able to invoke hysteria like no other. From its inception, the PPC has been written off as xenophobic, fascist and white supremacist. This is largely due to their position on lowering immigration levels to 150,000 immigrants per year (even though half of Canadians desire lower immigration numbers, according to an Angus Reid survey).

Many state that Bernier and the PPC are “divisive” and “hateful”, but these declarations are rarely qualified. Here are the top five cases of the PPC being met with hysteria:

University of Guelph all-candidates meeting cancelled after PPC candidate included 

On October 2nd 2019, the University of Guelph’s Central Student Association (CSA), which represents all undergraduate students at UGuelph, and CUPE 1334, the union representing the university’s 250 resource workers, were to conjointly host an all-candidates’ meeting on campus ahead of election day on October 21st

Guelph PPC candidate Mark Paralovos did not receive an invitation, so he reached out to the CSA and asked to participate, and was then granted an invitation. 

However, the CSA proceeded to rescind his invitation without explanation, and soon after, the CSA and CUPE 1334 issued a statement that the all-candidates debate was cancelled. They cancelled the entire event because Ontarian university free speech rules meant the two unions would have to allow the PPC candidate to be included, but in their view, letting the PPC candidate speak would “compromise the safety of students and workers.” 

The CSA and CUPE 1334 declared they both “work under an anti-oppressive mandate and a commitment to upholding equity and protecting marginalized groups from hate and violence on campus.” They went on to say that the PPC platform and policies “discriminate against people in the University of Guelph community, particularly marginalized groups”, though they never elaborate or give examples as to why they think that is the case. 

These groups ultimately decided that no speech is better than speech they don’t personally like. 

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh advocates for the Leaders’ Debate Commission to deplatform Maxime Bernier

In September 2019, it was announced that Maxime Bernier would be permitted to participate in the federal leader’s debates held by the Leaders’ Debate Commission. 

New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh wrote a letter to David Johnston, head of the Leaders’ Debate Commission, advocating for the deplatforming of Bernier. Singh wrote that it is wrong for Bernier to receive a platform to “promote an ideology of hate that spreads prejudice and disinformation.” 

Singh’s claims were made because it was discovered that one of the founding signatures for the PPC to become an official party came from Shaun Walker, the former leader of the American white supremacist organization National Alliance. Walker, who was the head of the St. Catharine’s PPC riding association, was fired after information about his background in the U.S. came to light. 

Bernier has stated racists and anti-Semites are “not welcome” in the PPC. 

In other words, Singh was spreading disinformation about Bernier and the PPC.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party, and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer all had more reasonable reactions to the news that Bernier would be allowed in the leaders’ debates, saying they were ready to debate him. 

Green and NDP candidates turn their back to PPC candidate during local debate

At an all-candidates meeting for the Toronto riding of Parkdale-High Park in September 2019, the Green and NDP candidates stood up and turned their backs onstage when PPC candidate Greg Wycliffe was speaking. To be fair, this form of silent protest is far more preferable to banging pots and pans or crashing cymbals. It does, however, seem like an overdramatic reaction. 

During his opening remarks, the Communist Party of Canada candidate at that same debate urged all of the candidates to leave the stage in protest of the PPC candidate being present, but no one took his suggestion. 

In this Toronto riding, Communists are welcomed, but conservatives who want less immigration are not.

“Say No To Mass Immigration” billboards cause uproar, get removed

In August 2019, a handful of billboards went up in Halifax, Toronto, Regina, Calgary and Vancouver that featured the face of Maxime Bernier, the People’s Party logo, and the message “Say NO to mass immigration.” The billboards, sponsored by True North Strong & Free Advertising Corp. (unrelated to True North News) sparked outrage nationwide, and were eventually removed by the billboard company, Pattison Outdoor Advertising. Many took to social media to denounce the billboards, including Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, who condemned the billboards as having a “negative, divisive tone.” 

However, seeing as half of Canadians want lower immigration levels, one would think that a billboard stating “Say YES to mass immigration” would be equally as “divisive.” 

Antifa calls elderly lady “Nazi scum” at PPC event in Hamilton, blocks her path

Antifa’s reputation has only worsened since their Portland, Oregon division inflicted a brain hemorrhage on journalist Andy Ngo after beating him up at a rally in June 2019. 

In September 2019, a free speech event featuring Maxime Bernier, American talk show host Dave Rubin, and PPC candidates Salim Mansur, David Haskell, and Frank Vaughan was heavily protested at its venue of Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. Fights broke out and four protesters were arrested.

But what went viral was the video footage of two elderly individuals being blocked from entering the venue by masked protestors. “Nazi scum, off our streets” the group of protestors viciously chanted at a woman using a walker and her companion.

The elderly woman’s son penned an op-ed after the event, with his mother insightfully noting that back in her day, the NDP were written off as “Communists”, but are now treated as a legitimate political party. Perhaps the PPC will follow a similar trajectory, being smeared as “bigots” today, but a mainstream political party in the future. 

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