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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Annual Walk for Alzheimer’s goes online on May 31

Event held every year in Abbotsford now raising funds through virtual event

UPDATE: Man from Mexico reported missing in Abbotsford has been located

Police report that Antonio Fernandez, 29, has been found safe and sound

Pedestrian struck in late-night collision on Highway 1 in Hope

RCMP were on scene at the incident near Flood Hope Road where traffic was rerouted for eight hours

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry hails work done to halt outbreak, which saw more than 130 people contract COVID-19

Man who broke into Abbotsford post office receives four more months in jail

Gary Patrick Richard sentenced for break-in and mail theft from April 20

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Man last seen walking out of Royal Columbian Hospital found dead

It is unclear how or why Gavin Deloes was able to leave the New Westminster hospital

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Most Read