Locally or nationally, Bernier’s message rings hollow for voters

It’s worth noting the leader of the People’s Party of Canada will be holding a rally in Napanee on Sept. 8th.

Rarely is a new political party born onto the federal stage and this new party is still in its infancy.

Maxime Bernier, party leader, will not be participating in the official election debates this fall. Though there are PPC candidates in nearly all of the 338 electoral ridings, he did not fulfill the criteria to participate in the debate.

Nonetheless, this new party has rapidly grown in popularity, having brought in $760,000 in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Canadian Press. That’s only slightly less than the Green Party, which brought in $783,000 in the same timeframe but has been around for 36 years.

This could be cause for concern, given that most of the recent press received by this party is due to billboards displaying anti-immigration slogans. The People’s Party aims to reduce Canada’s immigration from 350,000 to between 100,000 and 150,000.

Their platform states that Canada’s open door policy, or “the problem” as described on their party website, is immigration is not only placing a hefty financial burden on Canadians, but is also fundamentally changing the cultural character and social fabric of this country.

But, our collective values being a set of beliefs that form Canadian Identity, have notoriously been up for debate. To be Canadian is to ask what it means to be Canadian. Bernier has yet to outline exactly which values are being infringed upon by immigrants.

Canada is home to many diverse regions, each with its own unique ecosystems and sense of place. It could be argued this inherent diversity is what melds together people and places from various walks of life. Canada is a country home to swathes of boreal forest, plains, great lakes and oceans.

But Canada is warming faster than any other country in the world, according to a press release from the Federal Government in April, 2019. From wildfire smoke clouding the skies in the west to floods in the east-ours is now a diverse region of natural disaster.

“It is an undisputed fact that the world’s climate has always changed and will continue to change. Until twelve thousand years ago, much of Canada was under ice, and it is thanks to natural climate change that we can live here today,” according the People’s Party Platform.

Similarly, we will be able to credit climate change for the eventual erosion of shorelines and even, in the U.S., the sinking of low lying states.

If climate change continues without any impediments, certain parts of the world will be uninhabitable within the next century. And in Canada the environmental repercussions of climate change have only begun to be realized.

Recently, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg was lauded for her efforts to spread awareness about climate change, especially after sailing from London to New York. Thunberg sailed aboard a sailing yacht to avoid the environmental ramifications of air travel.

Maxime Bernier took this as an opportunity not only to deny climate change, but also to deride Thunberg, labelling the teenager as mentally unstable. In a twitter thread, Bernier described Thunberg as an “alarmist cult saint” who is bringing her “apocalyptic message” to Canada.

Unfortunately for the PPC leader, Thunberg isn’t relaying a message, but rather a well-established fact. At a time when the United Nations is calling for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced on a global scale, The People’s Party of Canada is essentially shutting the doors on our global village and pretending there isn’t a problem.

Though it is worth noting that the People’s Party of Canada will be holding a nearby rally on September 8th, it is also worth endeavouring to decipher fact from fiction, especially when the fate of the nation is up for debate.

Gazette editorial by Sarah Williams.