Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gambled his Liberal Party government’s political future by calling a snap election and, defying many polls, came out ahead of his main rival, the increasingly Trump-like Conservative Party. Following the September 20 national election, Trudeau will continue to govern with a 157-seat minority government in Parliament, having failed to achieve the 170-seats required to form a majority government. The Conservatives failed in their attempt to oust Trudeau and the Liberals, winning only 119 seats. As was the case before the snap election, Trudeau’s Liberals will be required to seek the support of either the third-place finisher, the Bloc Quebecois, and/or the fourth-place New Democratic Party (NDP).
While most eyes were on Trudeau and Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole, election observers eyeing the rise of neo-fascist, neo-Nazi, and other far-right parties around the world were looking at how a relatively new Canadian party, the far-right People’s Party of Canada (PPC), would fare in its first national contest. Formed in 2018 by former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, the PPC ran 312 candidates in the recent election. A like-minded party, the Free Party of Canada (FPC/PLC), formed in 2020 as an outgrowth of the defunct Freedom Party of Ontario, ran candidates in Quebec in the recent election.
The PPC expounds the same sort of Gish galloping gobbledygook that every far-right party uses to confuse voters. They claim to be “libertarian,” “populist,” “nationalist,” and, most laughable, neither “right” or “left” in the classical sense. This party uses the same “smiley face” for fascism and far-right extremism as has the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany, the National Rally in France, Fidesz in Hungary, and the U.S. House of Representatives “Freedom Caucus” of individuals like Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Nazi-admiring Madison Cawthorn, Lauren Boebert, and others. The far-right claims ownership of terms like freedom, patriot, and libertarian to mask its fascist underpinnings.
The PPC also capitalized on the Trudeau government’s stringent public health restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, including vaccinations, masking, and social distancing. Trudeau, like California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, was re-elected because of, not in spite of, his policies on stemming Covid-19 infections. However, both Trudeau and Newsom became targets for the radical right in their respective countries. Their electoral victories in the face of corporate-based opinion polls showing that they were in political trouble proves, once again, that the right is wrong on practically every issue with which they attempt to score points, including their opposition to anti-Covid measures.
Adolf Hitler’s Nazis initially saw vote total percentages in the low single digits in the first elections they contested in the 1920s. They steadily increased their percentages into the 20 and 30 percent ranges, which eventually earned them the chancellorship of Germany, initially in a coalition with other conservative parties. The Nazis saw elections as merely a means to an end, the end being winning enough votes to scrap Germany’s constitutional democracy. The PPC saw its vote total in the riding of Nippising-Timiskaming in Ontario increase from 5.2 percent in the 2019 election to 8 percent in 2021. In Ontario’s Sarnia-Lambton, the PPC jumped from 1.1 to 11 percent and in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex it was also 1.1 to 11 percent. In the province’s Etobicoke Centre the share went from 1.1 to 7 percent and in Brampton South it was 0.8 percent to 5 percent. It was the same story for Oxford, which saw the far-right go from 0.8 percent to 11 percent. The PPC tripled its support in the Alberta riding of Red Deer-Mountain View from 3.8 percent in 2019 to 12 percent in 2021, finishing ahead of the Liberal candidate who received only 6 percent. Similarly, the PPC candidate for Alberta’s Red Deer-Lacombe increased the party’s share from 3.6 percent in 2019 to 13 percent this year. One of the most drastic increases for the PPC came in the Manitoba riding of Portage-Lisgar, where the party’s vote share increased from 2.6 percent in 2019 to 20 percent in the recent election. The far-right saw similar sharp increases of support in Ontario, Quebec, and other provinces.
When the far-right picks up strength in an election in which the Conservatives ran further to the right of recent past prime ministers like Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney, that means voters are opting for fascism over democracy and these trends to the far-right should make everyone in Canada and the United States take notice.
The Nazis’ ideological heirs — the PPC in Canada, the Trump Republican Party, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the United Kingdom — all seek to end their nations’ democratic forms of government, replacing them with fascist and racist dictatorships that view multiparty systems and elections as quaint and needless political relics.
The PPC’s overall national vote percentage in Canada was 5.1 percent. That may seem insignificant but it marks the entry into Canadian politics of another potential participant in Steve Bannon’s global “Movement” of fascist political parties — this one being on America’s northern border.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).