WESTLOCK - On the eve of the Sept. 20 federal election, People’s Party of Canada patriarch Maxime Bernier was in Westlock proclaiming Canadians are “under attack from mainstream political parties” while the rights and freedoms of all are being curtailed by the implementation of vaccine passports.
Carrying signs protesting COVID-19 restrictions, roughly 200 unmasked PPCs supporters packed Lindahl Park Sunday afternoon (Sept. 19) to hear Bernier speak. The event opened with the singing of O Canada, followed by Mary Ellen Cunningham singing Save this Country, a song she composed in 1990 that speaks about government tyranny.
Bernier, who was joined at the event by Peace River-Westlock PPC candidate Darryl Boisson, told the crowd the party has steadily grown since the 2019 federal election where it received only 1.6 per cent of the popular vote.
Bernier, who sat as a Conservative Party MP from 2006 to 2018 and served in numerous cabinet portfolios including Minister of Foreign Affairs under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is seeking election in the riding of Beauce, Quebec. Bernier formed the PPC in 2018 after a failed bid to head the Conservatives in 2017, calling that party, "too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed."
“I believe that this party and this movement is growing because more and more people understand that our freedoms are under attack, under attack by the Liberals, under attack by the Conservatives, and mainstream political parties, every one of them,” said Bernier, who lost his seat in Parliament in the 2019 election.
Bernier, who is unvaccinated, also promised supporters that if elected the PPC would remove vaccine passports, or the need for negative COVID-19 tests to enter establishments, as well as group size restrictions.
“We want to gain back our freedoms,” said Bernier to applause and cheers from the crowd. “It’s not just about the vaccine passports it’s about these draconian measures they imposed on us these past 19 months and now it’s a vaccine passport.”
Bernier also addressed a variety of other topics during the event including Canada’s membership in the United Nations, immigration and racial politics.
Among the crowd was 51-year-old Thelma Rachel McKenzie who says she has never voted before, but plans to vote PPC.
“It’s never affected my personal life, but now it is,” said McKenzie. “For me, nothing gets better than freedom. Nothing gets better than the values I share with this party.”
Lisa Whelan was also among the crowd, sporting a reproduction of a yellow star badge that read, “Not vaccinated.” According to Wikipedia, yellow badges (or yellow patches), are badges that Jews were ordered to wear at various times during the Middle Ages by some caliphates, during the Medieval and early modern period by some European powers, and from 1939 to 1945 in Nazi Gemany. The badges served to mark the wearer as a religious or ethnic outsider, and often served as a “badge of shame.” Whelan compared the current COVID-19 restrictions to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany.
“It took Hitler six years to get where he was,” said Whelan, noting that it’s been over 18 months since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed. “It’s not like we’re being loaded on train cars and carted off to gas chambers yet, but we’re on that track.”