People's Party of Canada
|Founded||September 14, 2018|
|Split from||Conservative Party of Canada|
|Headquarters||205–290 St-Joseph Blvd|
Gatineau, QC J8Y 3Y3
|Colours||Navy blue Red|
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|House of Commons|
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The People's Party of Canada (PPC; French: Parti Populaire du Canada) is a right-wing federal political party in Canada. The party was formed by Maxime Bernier, on September 14, 2018, shortly after his resignation from the Conservative party. The PPC has formed electoral district associations (EDAs) in all of Canada's 338 ridings and plan to run a full slate of candidates in the 2019 Canadian federal election, nominated between May 7 to 13, 2019.
The People's Party of Canada was formed a few weeks after the resignation of Maxime Bernier, a former Conservative Party leadership candidate and cabinet minister from the Conservative Party of Canada. In his resignation speech, Bernier stated his reasons for leaving: "I've come to realize this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed" and mentioned issues such as political correctness, corporate welfare, equalization reform and supply management, where he felt that the Conservative party abandoned their principles under leader Andrew Scheer, to whom Bernier finished runner-up in the 2017 Conservative Party leadership election. He later told Vassy Kapelos that his party will debate discussions that "the leadership and the caucus" did not want to have when he was a party member. In a National Post op-ed, Bernier stated that his motive for forming the party was to reverse the "public choice dynamic" in the Canadian political system resulting in vote-buying and pandering by prominent political parties in Canada. He reiterated his belief that the Conservative Party cannot be reformed to end this practice and that a new political party is required.
Bernier was accused by prominent Conservative politicians such as former Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney of trying to divide the political right. He responded to Power & Politics that he wanted to focus on the disaffected voters, stating that "there is 20 per cent of the population who do not even bother to vote" and cited the political rise of French President Emmanuel Macron as an example. Bernier later cited the breakthrough of the People's Alliance of New Brunswick in the 2018 New Brunswick election and the Coalition Avenir Québec win in 2018 Quebec elections as examples of voters disdaining traditional parties and a desire for change by wanting to vote for new parties.
Prior to his resignation from the Conservative Party, Bernier had begun re-establishing contact with individuals who supported his 2017 Conservative leadership bid; they believed he had the necessary support to register a party with Elections Canada. Le Devoir reported that members of seven Conservative constituency associations defected to the party. A few days after announcing the party name, Libertarian Party leader Tim Moen, who previously offered the leadership to Bernier stated that he was open to the idea of a merger with the People's Party which could accelerate the party's fundraising efforts and nominated candidates. However, Bernier reaffirmed he has no interest in a merger, when asked by Global News. When asked about organizing the party, he mentioned that he will use tools that did not exist in the past, such as the use of social media.
Bernier plans to run candidates in all of Canada's 338 federal ridings in the 2019 federal elections. The party's registration documents were officially submitted to Elections Canada on October 10. In addition, he stated that EDAs will be in place by December 31, 2018, and the EDAs would start focusing on finding candidates starting in January 2019. On November 1, the party revealed that it had over 30,000 "founding members". The party held rallies in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa–Gatineau, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Quebec City. In 2019, it held rallies in Saint John and Halifax. On December 21, 2018, the party established EDAs in all 338 electoral districts.
The party received its eligibility status on November 11, 2018, and was registered by Elections Canada on January 19, 2019, after nominating candidates for by-elections in Outremont, York-Simcoe, Burnaby South which were called for February 25, 2019, and Nanaimo—Ladysmith.[a] In the February 25th by-elections the party received 10.9% of the vote in the Burnaby South but 1.5% in York—Simcoe or Outremont. 
Bernier told the National Post that they would start candidate nominations for the October general election after the by-elections. On March 25, 2019, Bernier announced in a press conference that the party has opened an online search for candidates until April 23, with candidate selection meetings to follow between May 7 and May 13. In an interview on Power Play, he said that the party plans to have their first convention on June 1st to 2nd.
In April 2019, Vancouver-Quadra district association president Angelo Isidorou resigned claiming the party was an “utter free for all” and had been “hijacked by egomaniacs.” Resignations have also occurred over accusations that the party has been infiltrated by "racist, homophobic, xenophobic and hateful influences".
Principles and policies
Bernier stated that his party is "a coalition of people who are disenchanted with traditional politicians who say one thing one day and the other the next". He mentioned that his platform will be based around the principles of freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect. Bernier encourages members of the party to share these principles which are non-negotiable, but they will have input on policies as they are refined. He has also stated that the party is neither left-wing or right-wing, but the difference between being free and not free. In addition to these principles, Bernier says the party will advocate for "smart populism", which as Bernier defines it plans to speak for "all Canadians" and not appease "special interest groups". The party has been referred to as conservative, libertarian, populist, classical liberal, and right-wing.
Currently, the People's Party of Canada platform has not been finalized, but it will follow the platform that Bernier ran on during his 2017 Conservative leadership campaign. Prominent platform planks include ending corporate welfare and supply management and opposing government intervention. He also wants to have a wider debate about immigration and consider possible changes to the system for immigration reform such as reducing family reunification and focusing on economic immigration. Following the launch of the party, Bernier stated in a TV interview with BNN Bloomberg he continued to have interest in deregulating the telecom industry, increasing airline competition, reducing tax brackets, and having a discussion around the privatization of Canada Post which were key components of his original 2017 Conservative leadership platform. He stated in an interview with CTV News that his new party will consider ceding control of health care to provinces by ending federal health transfers and granting the provinces the ability to raise their own revenue, allowing for more private health care while maintaining the Canada Health Act. Bernier has mentioned that his environmental platform would focus mainly on "clear air, clean water, population and private property rights" while directing climate change priorities to the provinces and private sector. He said that social conservatism policies such as abortion and gender identity would not be part of the party platform.
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- Canadian federal election, 2019
- Federal political parties in Canada
- Populism in Canada
- Riding candidates for the 43rd Canadian federal election
- Jennifer M. Clarke, the party candidate for Nanaimo—Ladysmith by election was called for May 6th 2019
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Libertarian leader Tim Moen had offered to step aside for Bernier following the results of the 2017 Conservative leadership race and adopted Bernier's platform.
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Bernier explains that he is using social media to fundraise in which he argues that it gives him a lower net cost than either the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party and plans to hire an independent outside firm to investigate the candidates' backgrounds in addition to having a background check, which he argues that neither the Conservative Party or the Liberal Party do.
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People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier paid a visit to Elections Canada's headquarters Wednesday morning, to submit his application to register a new political party.
- "30Â 000 membres chez Maxime Bernier". Le Devoir (in French). Retrieved January 21, 2019.
Founding members is an original member of a group
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For the February 25 by-elections, they announced candidates Laura-Lynn Tyler-Thompson for Burnaby South In subsequent weeks the party ran Robert Geurts for York-Simcoe on January 15 and Jamie Seale for Outremont
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