Canada’s Right-Wing Populist, Anti-Immigrant Party Got Crushed
Source: Huffington Post
Canada’s election featured a newly formed anti-immigrant party fielding more than 300 candidates and seeking to replicate the success of similar right-wing populist movements around the world. It failed miserably.
The People’s Party of Canada was completely shut out in Monday’s election, unable to win a single seat and receiving only about 1.5% of the vote. Even its leader, former top Conservative Party politician Maxime Bernier, lost the parliamentary seat that he has held since 2006.
Bernier spent the campaign promoting a divisive and exclusionary message that could have easily come from far-right parties such as Germany’s AfD or France’s National Front. He vowed to build a border fence to keep out asylum seekers, stoked fears of “radical Islam” in the country and told a rally earlier this year that he wanted to “make Canada great again.”
Bernier founded the party in 2018, after losing a Conservative Party leadership contest to Andrew Scheer, and quickly settled on an anti-immigration message. Despite the party polling around 3% throughout the campaign, Bernier was a highly visible figure during the race and participated in the federal leaders debate. His presence in the election, a sharp contrast with Canada’s progressive multicultural image, drew international media attention, including a profile in The New York Times that described him as a “lanky provocateur.”
On social media, Bernier also became an outsize presence over the past year through his increasingly anti-immigrant rhetoric and inflammatory statements. He posted a series of tweets attacking 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, shared a QAnon conspiracy video and railed against anti-fascists.