People's Party candidates in Windsor-Essex say they're 'the only alternative'
Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole suggests vote for PPC is a vote for Trudeau
People's Party of Canada candidates in Windsor-Essex are looking to position the party as an alternative to the mainstream political parties — including the Conservatives.
Beth Charron Rowberry, who is running in Essex, said the Liberals, NDP, Tories and Greens are all promising a similar vision.
"Their platforms are all spending billions of dollars that we don't have...We're the only party that is leaning to the right."
Windsor–Tecumseh candidate Victor Green similarly described the party as "the only alternative."
"If you take the three mainstream parties...and you put their leaders in a bag, and you shook the bag up and you poured them out, you wouldn't be able to tell one from the other," he said.
The third local candidate for the PPC, Matthew Giancola in Windsor West, declined an interview.
The People's Party of Canada began as a right-wing fringe party that barely registered on the electoral radar in its first general election — receiving just 1.6 per cent of the popular vote in 2019 and winning no seats.
But this time around, support appears to have grown. CBC News's poll tracker, which aggregates the findings of public opinion polls, suggests the PPC is sitting at 6.3 per cent support. That's nearly twice as much support as the Green Party, which is at 3.4 per cent.
Earlier in this campaign, the party's London-area riding president was ousted after being accused of throwing gravel at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. He has been charged with assault with a weapon.
The party has also attracted criticism, as well as support, for its rejection of COVID-19 lockdowns, mask mandates and other "authoritarian sanitary measures" — as the party's platform describes them — on the grounds of individual rights.
Green said it's "ridiculous" to lock down the whole population because some people are infected with COVID-19.
"We need to isolate the people and care for them until such time as they're better. Not lock down a complete economy and a whole nation," he said.
On Friday in London, Conservative leader Erin O'Toole suggested that a vote for the PPC is effectively a vote for the Liberals, arguing supporters could split the Conservative vote and clear the way for Liberal victories.
"There are actually millions of Canadians who are very frustrated with Mr. [Justin] Trudeau. If they allow that frustration to do anything other than vote Conservative, they're voting for Mr. Trudeau," O'Toole said, without referring to the PPC by name in his remarks.
In an interview conducted prior to O'Toole's comment, Charron Rowberry said, "The only vote splitting going on is between the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals."
"It's either basically you vote for freedom with the PPC, or you vote for the establishment parties and nothing's going to change."
The following candidates are running in Windsor-Essex ridings in the Sept. 20 federal election:
- NDP: Brian Masse (incumbent).
- Liberal: Sandra Pupatello.
- Conservative: Anthony Orlando.
- People's Party of Canada: Matthew Giancola.
- Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada: Margaret Villamizar.
- Liberal: Irek Kusmierczyk (incumbent).
- NDP: Cheryl Hardcastle.
- Conservative: Kathy Borrelli.
- People's Party of Canada: Victor Green.
- Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada: Laura Chesnik.
- Green Party: Henry Oulevey.
- Conservative: Chris Lewis (incumbent).
- NDP: Tracey Ramsey.
- Liberal: Audrey Festeryga.
- Green Party: Nancy Pancheshan.
- People's Party of Canada: Beth Charron-Rowberry.
- Christian Heritage Party of Canada: Jeremy Palko.
- Independent: Andrew George.
With a file from John Paul Tasker