The PPC Needs The New Blue Party Of Ontario To Succeed

Written By Daniel Bordman, Posted on May 5, 2022

Maxime Bernier’s PPC party burst onto the Canadian political scene in 2019 as a more conservative alternative to the Conservative Party of Canada as many people felt that the party was starting to come too far to the Left. The PPC gained more popularity in the polls in the next election as then CPC leader Erin O’Toole almost declared open war on his own base and was quite vocal about his shift leftwards after marketing himself as a “True Blue” conservative in the leadership race.

The rise in popularity of the PPC, or drop in it for the CPC was reflected in the polls as the PPC would frequently be seen above the 10 percent mark, yet failed to translate any of that into a seat in Parliament. This is what a strong alliance with the New Blue Party could help fix for the PPC.

First, the name “People’s Party of Ontario” is taken and was formed prior to the federal PPC, so there can not be an official PPO connected to Bernier’s federal party. This leaves three options for Maxime Bernier in the current Ontario election: Back New Blue, back Derek Sloan’s Ontario Party or stay out of it completely.

Currently, the PPC is staying on the sidelines which is the least risky approach. They gain absolutely nothing by taking this approach, but they also don’t risk potentially alienating anyone on the Ontario right as there is currently a good amount of infighting.

Probably the worst idea for the PPC would be to throw in with Derek Sloan, this might gain Maxime Bernier a few thousand Twitter followers, but the PPC doesn’t need Twitter followers, it needs infrastructure. This political alliance is also extremely unlikely since Derek Sloan left his Ontario riding he had a shot to be reelected as an independent, to start his own federal party (which never materialized) to compete with the PPC in Alberta.

The PPC and the New Blue Party of Ontario is an almost perfect political marriage for both sides. The PPC has become a political movement, they have the ability to drive discourse online and gain attention. This is a useful trait for a political party, but there are severe deficiencies in the PPC that lead it to get less at the ballot box than they do in public polls.

To anyone who has been around a PPC campaign, you can see the problems. The average PPC campaign has a candidate who is not a traditional politician and decides to get involved and make a difference backed by a small group of motivated volunteers that appear for the election. You might be thinking, what’s wrong with that? The answer isn’t what is wrong with the PPC, but what is missing.

After speaking to many PPC candidates over the years you get a sense from them that when they are running for MP they seem to be doing it solo without much help from a central command at PPC headquarters. After 3 years the PPC has yet to create 338 permanent fully functioning Electoral District Associations (EDAs), write a constitution, or run a real leadership race.

Contrast this with what Jim and Belinda Karahalios have managed to do in just about a year. Even while dealing with cancer and Belinda going into the legislature every day to monitor the far-left turn of the Ford government they managed to fill out a full slate of EDAs and were the first party to fill out all 124 candidates, even though it is their first election as a party.

This is what the PPC desperately needs. The PPC does well at the first step of politics, which is getting people interested. They fall short of keeping those people organized and involved in the party. Jim Karahalios has a long history of building successful conservative movements in Canada, like Axe the Carbon Tax. Strong third-party allies are key to the political success and organizational capabilities of a political party and currently the PPC does not have any major organizations as allies.

The New Blue Party of Ontario is very high on substance, and low on flash. For example, copying Jim Karahalios’s ideas has always been a good political strategy for right-wing politicians, the PC party in Ontario did it at the end of the Wynne era, and Erin O’Toole would parrot Jim’s ideas to make him seem like he held some conservative positions, and currently, the Ontario Party’s platform seems to be a mix of what was in the New Blue emails a week prior mixed in with some Twitter ramblings irrelevant federal issues.  

New Blue MPP Belinda Karahalios and New Blue leader Jim Karahalios.

In the most recent federal election, Jim Karahalios openly backed the PPC, it would be smart for the PPC to do the same. The gain for New Blue is that they would get a good swell of support from the anti-establishment crowd and put to bed the fighting between the new right-wing parties. If Maxime Bernier were to return the favour he could win over all of the current New Blue EDA members. As sitting on both provincial and federal EDAs is a very common thing to do in Canada. By forming a handshake alliance with New Blue the PPC could easily translate the provincial New Blue infrastructure to one that also acts as a federal one for the PPC. 

For the PPC to make the movement from a political movement to a legitimate political party, Maxime Bernier has a lot of homework to do. The simplest solution to this predicament is likely to just copy someone else’s if they are willing to let you.

Daniel Bordman

Daniel is the host of political satire show Uninterrupted, runs multiple podcasts and has written for a variety of publications. Daniel is also the communications coordinator of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation. You can find him on Twitter here. Uninterrupted on YouTube

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