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Bernier, the great unknown of these elections

TORONTO – An unknown, indecipherable, and unpredictable factor on this federal election. Twelve days before the polls, with polls confirming the Conservative party’s lead over Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the presence of the People’s Party threatens to upset the balance and balance of power between the political forces running for the September 20 vote. For now we do not talk about it, or rather we talk about it little. The movement founded and led by Maxime Bernier at the baptism of fire in the 2019 elections did not do very well: just 294 thousand votes throughout the country, equal to 1.6 percent, no elected deputies and the same leader beaten in his electoral district of Beauce by former party comrade Richard Lehoux.

In the last eighteen months, after the election results should have condemned him to a sad political anonymity, Bernier has used the pandemic to return forcefully to the political stage: riding the protest, organizing demonstrations, protest marches, protests against the government and the majority party. Bernier was the only federal political leader who openly embraced the demands of the colorful and varied galaxy of no-vac, Covid-skeptics, deniers, conspiracy theorists, anti-lockdowns in all the provinces of our country.

It was a long and laborious political operation, but in the end it led to results, if the latest polls were really able to give us a faithful snapshot of voting intentions. According to the latest poll by Mainstreet Research, at this moment the Peolpe’s Party would stand at 7.6 percent, while for Ekos Bernier’s party would be close to 8 percent of the vote.

Bernier has obviously used a fairly elementary but very effective strategy and approach: in times of difficulty, he always speaks to the belly of the voters, with simple messages, pungent slogans and with a loud voice and the results will come.

“My main priority – he said at the start of his electoral campaign – for a year and a half has been respect for our fundamental rights and freedoms, which have been systematically violated by governments. I am the only leader of a national party that has opposed lockdowns from the beginning. Those who oppose forced vaccination and vaccination passports. These are unjust, ineffective and unconstitutional measures that create two categories of citizens, some with fewer rights than others.”

From the outset- he added – we should have focused all our efforts to protect the most vulnerable, that is to say the elderly with previous illnesses in nursing homes, who represent the vast majority of victims. Lockdowns will cause more deaths and long-term health problems than the virus. Anxiety disorders, depression, medication, suicides, job losses, small business closures, postponements of surgeries and cancer tests, massive indebtedness of our governments, inflation and future tax increases, etc. We will have to live with these terrible consequences for years to come.”

The fact is that the progressive strengthening of the Peolple’s Party is bound to cause unintended consequences especially on the right. Erin O’Toole, leader of the Tories, obviously does not welcome Bernier’s growth, because in every single electoral district a vote earned by the People’s Party is a vote taken away from the Conservatives. And within this dynamic, paradoxically Trudeau hopes for the growth of Bernier’s movement, whose acolytes – among other things – are the alleged perpetrators of the protests suffered by the outgoing prime minister in recent days.

In the York Centre district, for example, outgoing liberal MP Ya’ara Saks according to 338canada.com stands at 42 percent, while conservative candidate Joel Yakov Etienne is at 41 percent. Nixon Nguyen, running for the People’s Party, collects 7.7 percent of the voting intentions: the growth of the party in this district is curbing the ambitions of the conservatives to regain it.

Also according to 338canada.com in the district of Vaughan-Woodbridge the outgoing liberal deputy Francesco Sorbara is at 45 percent against 39 percent of the conservative Angela Panacci.

The balance will be represented by the votes that Mario Greco, candidate of the People’s Party which, according to polls, is at 5.4 percent, will collect.

This kind of dynamic could be repeated on a national scale, limiting the conservatives’ aspirations for victory in dozens of districts.

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