The right-wing People’s Party of Canada almost quadrupled its votes in the two Kelowna-area ridings on Monday.
Its candidate in Kelowna-Lake Country, Brian Rogers, won 7.2% of all votes cast. In Central Okanagan-Nicola-Similkameen, PPC candidate Kathryn Mcdonald won 7.3% of the vote. And she doesn’t even live here.
These tallies were up from the 1.8% and 2.07% of the votes the PPC candidates won in the two ridings, respectively, two years ago.
Provincially, the PPC polled 5.1% of the vote in B.C., just slightly behind the 5.3% won by the free-falling Greens.
The popularity of the PPC in the two Kelowna ridings was similar to its share of the vote in Alberta, where it won 7.5% of all votes cast. The PPC was most popular in Manitoba, where it won 7.8% of all votes.
Nationally, the party polled 5.1% of the vote, up from the 1.6% share it drew in 2019. But the party again failed to win any seats, not even coming close anywhere, and Leader Maxime Bernier again was trounced in his riding of Beauce, Que.
The PPC campaigned mainly on its opposition to lockdowns triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine passports. It also pledged to halve immigration, make deep cuts to the federal budget, cut funding for the CBC, repeal a recently passed ban on certain guns, and abolish carbon taxes.
Such policies might drive so-called progressives nuts, but poll results show a not inconsiderable number of Canadians share these views. The wonder for the PPC, really, is that they couldn’t attract anyone other than Mcdonald, an unemployed paralegal based in Vancouver to represent the party in the riding that includes downtown Kelowna and West Kelowna.
Her performance during an online debate veered between the incomprehensible and the ludicrous. After the four other candidates had answered a question, she asked to have it repeated; she said wrongly that all Canadian exports were banned because of the pandemic; she said “I don’t know” when asked what her priorities would be if elected. She was bored and uninformed, and proudly so.
In the dying days of the campaign, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made an explicit pitch to right-of-centre voters not to vote PPC because it would deliver another Liberal victory. But a morning-after analysis of PPC votes by iPolitics shows the PPC cost, at most, the Conservatives a few seats in Ontario.
O’Toole can’t blame the PPC for the Conservatives’ loss. He earned it all by himself.
Liberal candidate Tim Krupa, mocked by the Conservatives for being a parachute candidate, missed his landing in Kelowna-Lake Country by a wide margin.
He won 26% of the vote, almost 20 points behind re-elected Conservative incumbent Tracy Gray. Krupa’s tally was also down almost seven points from what Liberal incumbent Stephen Fuhr drew when he was defeated by Gray in 2019.
Krupa’s vote totals were down more than 20 points from what Fuhr won in the 2015 election, when the Liberals knocked off two-term incumbent Conservative Ron Cannan.
But at least Krupa, 30, didn’t drop the local Liberals below the party’s disastrous results in the 2008 and 2011 elections, when their candidates drew 14.8% and 11.5%, respectively.
Krupa’s share of the vote, in fact, was almost exactly what the party received locally in the 1997, 2000, and 2004 elections.
The party’s only other triumph in Kelowna, of course, was in 1968 when Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s charismatic father, won a sweeping majority. Based on all election returns since then, perhaps the Liberal’s next big chance in Kelowna will come if a third-generation Trudeau one day takes the helm of the party.
Pierre Trudeau was 50 when he first became Prime Minister. Justin was 44. Justin’s oldest child, Ella-Grace, is 12. Given the apparent magic in the Trudeau name, local Liberals might already be looking forward to an election round about the year 2056.
Someone once said about Brazil, “It is the future. And it always will be.”
That kind of yawning gap between potential and reality, reach and grasp, seems an apt description of the federal Greens, whose sanctimony and certitude on all kinds of climate issues had a net zero impact on voters this election.
After doubling their local vote between the 2004 and 2008 elections, to 14% from 7%, the Kelowna-area Greens have been headed right back down ever since, not even bothering to contest the 2015 election.
On Monday, Green candidate Imre Szeman – who, unlike Krupa, really was a parachute candidate because he has never even lived in Kelowna – got just 3.1% of the vote in Kelowna-Lake Country.
Nationally, the Greens mustered barely 2% of the vote. Some Greens, sniffing the impending electoral disaster, had tried to oust Leader Annamie Paul before the election.
John Janmaat, a local Green who ran in the provincial election last year, threw in with the federal Liberals, as did former B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver.
With friends like that, realization of the Greens’ dreams might be as far off as – oh, let’s say, Brazil.
Ron Seymour is a reporter at The Daily Courier. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org