Could the People’s Party of Canada be a factor in Calgary?

Long considered a stronghold for conservative politicians, polling suggests Calgary will revert to pre-2015 levels in October’s federal election.

According to 338Canada.com, the Conservative Party is currently projected to take nearly 60 per cent of the popular vote in Calgary, compared to the Liberal Party with nearly 24 per cent.

With such robust support in Alberta’s largest city for conservative politics, it’s no surprise the second-largest conservative party in Canada is running a full slate of candidates in Calgary.

The People’s Party of Canada will field a candidate in every Calgary riding, but Mount Royal University professor David Taras said he thinks the party will remain on the margins.

“On a bad day, they’re going to be on the margins of the margins of the margins, basically having no effect on the outcome,” he said. “On a good day, they could take votes away from the Conservatives. 

“But they don’t have the money, they don’t have the organization, they don’t have the recognition and they don’t have the candidates. They haven’t done the massive preparation that’s needed for a really effective ground game.”

Low poll numbers

Polling for the People’s Party of Canada has indicated the party has yet to make much of an impact nationwide, despite Maxime Bernier’s claims that Canadians had an “appetite for our alternative.”

As of September 10, 338Canada projects the PPC would garner 3.1 per cent of the vote nationwide were the election to be held today. 

In Alberta, the PPC popular vote margin is projected at its second-best in Canada with 3.5 per cent, behind Atlantic Canada with 3.6 per cent.

But those low margins haven’t depressed the enthusiasm of PPC candidates running in Calgary, all of whom have had to deal with party controversy, limited exposure and restricted budgets.

Alternative viewpoints

On the day the federal election officially got underway, Colin Korol, the PPC candidate in Calgary Confederation, was canvassing.

“When I go door-knocking and talk to people at the door, they’re very receptive about the platform and they agree with our policies,” he said. “So, in that way, I’m very enthusiastic about our party’s chances.”

Colin Korol, the candidate for the People’s Party of Canada in Calgary Confederation, said he is running on a number of platforms, including ending the carbon tax, ending equalization payments and balancing budgets. (Tahirih Foroozan)

Korol said he’s worked at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary for the last 20 years and decided to run for the PPC because he felt the local economy had been hurt by both local and federal government.

“I think the Conservative Party has had their chance to govern, and they’re not really a conservative party anymore,” he said. “They’re not really representing the people, they’re representing the special interests and corporations.”

Korol said residents he had spoken to while door-knocking have brought up recent PPC controversies surrounding immigration and climate change, but said “there’s a lot of misunderstanding” about the party.

“We are pro-immigration, but we want to bring immigration to a level where it’s sustainable for a country, where we can have it not affect our social programs,” he said. “We’re able to have an economic policy that’s good for the country.

“That includes people coming into the country and asking what they can contribute and what they believe.”

Path forward

Taras said it was likely the other candidates running in the federal election would likely ignore Bernier, and the PPC at large.

“There’s no question that Maxime Bernier is very charismatic and dominates a room. Certainly, he’s an ardent conservative so people who are conservative might be attracted to that,” he said. “But he did lose the leadership race. 

“I think all the forces of unity within the Conservative Party will be pushing for Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party.”