The People’s Party of Canada (PPC) finds itself in a better position than it was two years ago: the pandemic gave it what it was seeking all along, a constituency ready to embrace its anti-system rhetoric.
18 months of lockdowns, social distancing, mask mandates and vaccine protocols have riled up various pools of Canadians. Their mistrust of the political system and desire to shake the status quo make them clear targets of the PPC, the party that has consistently questioned and criticized Canada’s response to the pandemic.
However, the jury is still out on their number, influence and ability to organize locally. More importantly: we still don’t know if the “target voter” will automatically endorse the PPC—they could opt to stay home and just not vote. The federal election will find much-needed answers on the immediate and future prospects of this movement: if it can’t improve upon its 2019 showing, it would be difficult to argue that the PPC remains a viable option for Canadians to consider. And they are already bordering on irrelevance moving into the federal election.
The PPC’s immediate goals are to:
Elect Maxime Bernier
The ultimate credibility test lies in ensuring that its leader wins back his former riding of Beauce.
Disrupt the campaign
The PPC won’t have to adhere to the usual norms inherent to political campaigns: it can say what it wants, when it wants, without fearing any repercussions. As a matter of fact, it is literally what its voters expect.
Target CPC ridings
The PPC’s best chance of success will likely come in areas of the country currently under Conservative leadership.
People’s Party of Canada's strengths
- Contribution to the national debate: The PPC owns a portion of the conversation around COVID-19, which works to its advantage. Its relevance cannot be questioned.
- Boldness: Freed from the pressure carried by traditional parties (vetting mistakes, campaign gaffes, etc.), again, the PPC can say and do what it wants.
People’s Party of Canada's challenge
- Lack of support: Polls have pegged the party hovering around 2%. An overwhelming percentage of Canadians have endorsed the government’s response to the pandemic.
X-factor for the People’s Party of Canada
- COVID-19 variants: Will variant outbreaks push provinces to enact lockdowns? If so, how will Canadians react?
——— Tiéoulé Traoré is a former Director, Government Relations at NATIONAL Public Relations