Seeking broader appeal, separatist Wexit Canada party changes its name to the Maverick Party
Interim party leader Jay Hill says Wexit brand was tainted by past incidents
The separatist Wexit Canada party will run under a new name moving forward, interim party leader Jay Hill confirmed Thursday — the Maverick Party.
"[A maverick] is someone who challenges the status quo and believes very strongly in forging ahead and taking a new path," Hill said in an interview.
"We just thought that it hit perfectly what we're endeavouring to do with this new political party, in promoting more autonomy for western Canada and, failing that, actually promoting an independent nation."
The news of the party's name change was first reported by the Western Standard.
Some might notice the party shares the name with the high-flying protagonist of the Top Gun film franchise, Navy Lt. Pete (Maverick) Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise.
"It's not an intentional connection," Hill said. "What has transpired, obviously, is people do reflect on where they've heard the name before.
"But there's [a new Top Gun movie] in the works to be released shortly I guess, for a sequel, so that'll keep the name in the forefront."
Hill previously told CBC's West of Centre in August that a name change was pending.
Hill said some of the change was motivated by past connections that had tainted the Wexit brand, and confusion among similarly named political entities.
"We polled via Facebook, our members and some of the general public that would be interested in whether we should change our name or not," Hill said. "It came back that two-thirds majority thought it would be wise to change the name."
Hill, who was Conservative House leader under then-prime minister Stephen Harper at the time of his retirement in 2010, previously told CBC's West of Centre podcast that his party was planning on running candidates in a smattering of ridings in the next federal election.
A July Abacus Data poll found that only seven per cent of Canadians thought Wexit was a good idea, but its support in Alberta could come at the expense of the federal Conservatives.
Hill said he believed the party's new name could appeal to "mavericks" across the political spectrum, no matter their demographic.
"There's mavericks in the business world, in virtually every occupation you run across what is referred to as mavericks — people who chart an independent path," Hill said. "So we think that it reaches the young people as well.
"There's going to be some excitement, I believe, about this new political party, the Maverick Party."
A spokesperson with Elections Canada said the Maverick Party is an eligible party and will become a registered party when it runs its first candidate in a general election or byelection.