North

Meet Luke Quinlan, People's Party of Canada candidate for the Northwest Territories

Quinlan says he entered the federal race as the People’s Party candidate because no one else was addressing the high cost of living in the North.

Luke Quinlan is running to abolish the carbon tax and lower the cost of living in the N.W.T.

Luke Quinlan, an electrician and business owner in Yellowknife, is running for the People's Party of Canada. (Mario De Ciccio/CBC)

This is the fifth in a series of profiles of the Northwest Territories' federal election candidates. Read our profiles on NDP candidate Mary Beckett, Liberal candidate Michael McLeod, Conservative candidate Yanik D'Aigle, and Green candidate Paul Falvo.

Luke Quinlan says he's not a politician.

The People's Party of Canada candidate for the Northwest Territories is an electrician by trade, and before announcing his candidacy in May, he had never run for public office. 

Quinlan says he entered the race for the People's Party because no one else was addressing the high cost of living in the North.

"That's my main cause," he said. "To help out people here, to try to give back and tackle the high cost of living."

Quinlan declined CBC's repeated requests for an interview for this profile. This story includes statements the candidate has made on other CBC programs.

Born and raised in Newfoundland, Quinlan, like many provincial expats, came North in 2005 in search of a good job.

He started his own home security company in Yellowknife three years ago, met his wife in the city and has three daughters as well as a baby son on the way. His fourth child is due, as fate would have it, on Oct. 21 — election day.

"Whether or not that baby decides to show up on that day is out of my control," Quinlan told a small crowd at the CBC's debate in Ndilo, N.W.T., "but I'll be celebrating either way."

CBC Northbeat's Juanita Taylor will speak to every candidate aiming to represent one of the territories in the Oct. 21 election. Watch her conversation with Mary Beckett, the People's Party candidate for the Northwest Territories. 5:33

First time on the ballot

This is the first federal election in which the People's Party will appear on the ballot.

After losing the Conservative leadership race to Andrew Scheer, former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier quit the Conservative caucus and, in September of last year, formed the People's Party of Canada. 

Widely considered the furthest right, ideologically, of the larger parties, the People's Party advocates for ending official multiculturalism, shrinking the role of the federal government, and for denying scientific consensus that climate change is human-caused. 

A divisive leader, Bernier drummed up controversy for calling 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has Asperger's syndrome, "mentally unstable," for being photographed with alleged hate group members, and for billboards telling Canadians to "say no to mass immigration." 

People's Party Leader Maxime Bernier speaks at an event in Hamilton, Ont., on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. Quinlan believes Bernier would make the best Prime Minister because the leader’s views have been consistent over the years. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

If voters, seeking greater insight into Quinlan's own views, look to his Facebook page or Instagram, they may be struck to see a photo of Lauren Southern, a Youtuber and former Rebel Media personality. Southern has been embraced by alt-right groups for her anti-migrant views, opposing the Black Lives Matter movement, and for declaring "there is no rape culture in the West."

When asked why there was a photo of Southern on his candidate social media, Quinlan said it was "satirical."

"I don't have to defend the paradigm and actions and words just because I share a picture of someone on my Instagram or Facebook," he said. 

An avowed Libertarian, Quinlan believes taxes are too high and the "free market" holds solutions to the high cost of living and doing business in the North.

"Every time there is a tax implemented, it discriminates against the North," where high prices already make it hard for people to get by, he said. 

The People's Party platform includes cuts to income taxes, the corporate income tax, and the elimination of personal capital gains taxes and the carbon tax. 

Quinlan says the People's Party of Canada would let the Northwest Territories keep general sales taxes generated within its boundaries. 

How's taxes going to change the climate?- Luke Quinlan, People's Party of Canada candidate for N.W.T.

Quinlan is "pro-drilling, pro-mining, pro-industry, while being environmentally friendly," and vehemently anti-carbon tax.

"How's taxes going to change the climate?" he said.

On climate change, Quinlan said the overwhelming scientific consensus that it's caused by human activity is "not completely accurate." (NASA and other organizations say it is.) 

While "it's possible humans are a contributor," said Quinlan, they aren't the driving force. But, he added, "I'm not a scientist." 

Rejecting UNDRIP

During the campaign, Quinlan objected to adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, saying Canada shouldn't "outsource policy," and asked, "why are we listening to globalists at the UN?"

On CBC's The Trailbreaker on Friday, Quinlan said he had not read the 15-page document that affirms Indigenous peoples' rights to culture, self-determination and traditional lands, nor had he spoken to Indigenous leaders about it. 

"I won't make a decision on something I haven't read," he said, later adding that after reading it, he could change his mind.

Quinlan believes Bernier would make the best prime minister because the leader's views have never wavered. 

"His policy has been the same and that's why he left the Conservative Party," said Quinlan. "He said the Conservative Party is looking to fill the void of the old school Liberal Party because the Liberal Party has moved a little bit to the left. Some would say far to the left."

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