Montreal

Sowing confusion, Rhino party fields candidate named Maxime Bernier in Beauce

The Rhinoceros Party is hoping name recognition will give their newest candidate a leg up in the Beauce region, or at the very least sow confusion.

Satirical party takes aim at leader of People's Party of Canada by running candidate with same name

Maxime Bernier (right), a 42-year-old delivery man from Lac Saint-Jean, is running in the same riding as PPC leader Maxime Bernier. (Rhinoceros Party)

The Rhinoceros Party is hoping name recognition will give their newest candidate a leg up in the Beauce region, or at the very least sow confusion.

The party has nominated a candidate named Maxime Bernier where the leader of the People's Party of Canada, who has the same name, is also running.

In an interview with CBC News, Bernier said he was approached by members of the satirical party on Facebook and asked if he wanted to run.

Although he's never met the PPC leader, he said it was impossible to avoid the association.

"For the last 20 years, I'd say my name, and I'd hear exactly what Maxime Bernier was doing," he said, adding that people would often joke about how they have the same name.

"This is like, we'll switch the roles. And we'll see if people like me more than him!" he said.

"It's like a payback, but without any bad [intentions]."

Despite the tongue-in-cheek reason he was approached, Bernier said he's serious about running a campaign.

"They asked me at the beginning if I could be just a name," he said. "And I refused that. If I'm doing to do it, I do it all, or I'm not doing it at all."

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier is running in Beauce again in 2019. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The 42-year-old from Lac Saint-Jean, who works in the delivery sector, said he plans on focusing on local issues that concern the Beauce, instead of national issues.

"Maxime Bernier thinks it's a bigger concern to fight with a little 16-year-old girl… and tell everybody that [climate change] is not happening, that it's just a story to scare kids, instead of taking care of the people that are supposed to vote for him," he said, referring to Bernier's comments about teenaged climate activist, Greta Thunberg

"The way he's thinking, I really think it's from another century."

He said that his campaign would focus on the needs of people in Beauce, especially those in the agricultural and dairy sectors, "because they're the ones that elect me."

"I'm not going to try to win Ontario because I want to be the chief of a party," he said. 

In a statement to Radio-Canada, the PPC said it was "a good joke" but that they were "confident that the people of Beauce will vote for the Maxime Bernier they know, and not the one imported from Lac Saint-Jean."

As for the Rhino candidate, he said that if anyone is confused, they can refer back to his slogan.

"If you're not sure, then vote for both!"

About the Author

Laura Marchand is a researcher with CBC Montreal's morning radio show, Daybreak. She is currently covering the federal election in Quebec.