CAPE BRETON: The People’s Party of Canada (PPC) is hoping to secure a foothold in the federal ridings of Cape Breton-Canso and Central Nova.
Recently, CITU 104.1FM manager Billy Joyce became the Cape Breton-Canso riding association’s Chief Executive Officer.
“We’ve only got about 100 members so far, but it’s been a long process,” Joyce told The Reporter about the local association, which received official recognition from Elections Canada on March 8. “Before we had the initial membership drive, which was to get the founding members, we picked up 50 or 60 members, who jumped on the bandwagon right away.”
He said the party is actively recruiting a candidate for the 43rd General Election in the fall but indicates their biggest challenge is the geographical location as the riding covers from Cheticamp to Canso.
“One of the challenges there is going to be finding a candidate that is going to be able to go door-to-door,” Joyce said. “Twenty years ago, this kind of endeavour would be impossible, but in 2019, I guess you could say, it’s probable, but it’s doable because of social media, it’s doable because of our networking capabilities.”
Federally, the party is led by Maxime Bernier, a former federal cabinet minister and Conservative Party leadership candidate. Bernier founded the PPC after failing to secure the leadership bid in 2017, and promised to run candidates in all 338 federal ridings across Canada.
“When you look at his membership, he’s up to 37,000 members nationally,” Joyce explained. “And the Green Party, who has been around for 20-years, has only got 19,000 members.”
He said the association’s immediate goal is to build their membership in addition to looking for a candidate who will bring the concerns of the people of Cape Breton-Canso to Ottawa, and not the concerns of parties.
“That doesn’t mean everything we want we’re going to get, but it means that everything we want will basically be put on the table,” Joyce said. “I have to be realistic, do I think [the PPC] will form some kind of government in October? Probably not. But if we managed to pick up 30 seats, and we ended up with a minority government, you could have the PPC holding the power of balance inside the house.”
The Cape Breton-Canso riding has been a Liberal stronghold since 2000 when Rodger Cuzner entered federal politics. Cuzner won the 2015 election with 74 per cent of the popular vote and didn’t lose a single poll.
“My question to the people from Cape Breton-Canso is what has happened to the riding in the past 30-years, is it better off than it was 30-years-ago?” Joyce said of the riding. “I think the answer is no to that.”
According to Elections Canada, the PPC has formally established electoral district associations in all 11 ridings across the province.
Officially, the party is still finalizing their platform but their Web site indicates their platform will be mostly based on the same policies Bernier had proposed during his bid for the Conservative leadership: unleashing Canada’s potential; decentralizing and shrinking government; making every Canadian richer; standing up for rural Canadians; an immigration policy that must aim to fulfill economic needs; a foreign policy focused on the security and prosperity of Canadians; and a fair gun policy for Canada.
Broadly, Bernier’s message is respecting individual and community rights, and according to Joyce, that’s exactly what is needed in the riding of Cape Breton-Canso.
“Maxime recognizes the needs of Cape Breton-Canso are not the same as the needs of Toronto; he recognizes the mentality or the culture of the people of Cape Breton-Canso is not the same as the people living in Vancouver.”
For more information on the PPC, their policies and how to become a member, visit the party’s Web site: https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca or contact Joyce at 902-623-1925 or at: email@example.com.