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

Just Posted

Abbotsford Centre records busiest fall on record

Venue sees more than 48,000 guests and four sellouts from Sept. 14 to Nov. 3

Cineplex to show free holiday movies to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Community Day will be on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at select theatres

Mission Christmas Bureau accepting applications and donations

More than 77 children have already been registered and another 500 are expected this holiday season

Bomb threat at Mission school not credible says superintendent

West Heights Community Elementary School struck by vandals over the long weekend

SLIDESHOW: Remembrance Day ceremony in Abbotsford

Over 4,000 people attended the ceremony in Thunderbird Square

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Most Read