Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, welcomes Maxime Bernier after the PPC leader arrived in downtown Nanaimo on Sunday afternoon. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Bernier arrives in Nanaimo-Ladysmith to amplify PPC campaign

People’s Party of Canada leader in Nanaimo-Ladysmith for three days of campaigning

Canada’s newest major federal party will be busy trying to build its base in Nanaimo-Ladysmith this week.

Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, arrived in the city this afternoon for the start of three days of campaigning with local candidate Jennifer Clarke.

“I think people like our message here and it’s important for me to campaign with Jennifer, speaking to people about what [are] the values of our party based on freedom, personal responsibility, respect and fairness,” Bernier said.

He said British Columbians generally like some of the same PPC platform policies that hold appeal in other places in Canada, including a “tax reform” plan which he said would take away special tax credits and lower taxes for everybody. He also wants a re-calculation of federal equalization payments.

“We are able to speak about things that must be done [such as] changing the equalization formula to be sure to have a fair and a little bit less generous formula that will give real incentive to other provinces to develop their natural resources,” Bernier said.

He said the People’s Party of Canada is attracting members from all other parties, saying policies such as abolishing supply management in agriculture, getting rid of “crony capitalism” and “corporate welfare,” and promising a balanced budget and lower taxes appeal to a broad range of voters.

“I don’t try to buy votes with people’s money. Our platform is the same one all across the country. We don’t do any pandering. There’s no political correctness for us. We are speaking the truth and what needs to be said…” Bernier said. “People are saying this party’s a populist party. Maybe, but we are a smart populist party because we have strong and serious policies and we want to appeal to the intelligence of people, not to their emotion.”

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He said that the People’s Party of Canada has been able to create riding associations nationwide, noting that the old Reform Party, for example, was never able to expand to all regions of Canada.

“A lot of journalists were saying that ‘[the PPC], they won’t have time to build a party in less than a year; Bernier, he is only a one-man show,’” the leader said. “And we proved the opposite.”

Bernier will campaign in downtown Ladysmith on Monday morning and will hold a town hall Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Nanaimo Yacht Club.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection is May 6. Other candidates include Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Greens; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party; Jakob Letkemann, National Citizens Alliance.

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