Monday, November 12, 2018

People's Party organizing in Saskatchewan

Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada gaining support in Sask. | CBC News - Chelsea Laskowski:

October 25, 2018 - "Maxime Bernier's Saskatchewan supporters say they're well on the way to hitting their leader's big goal for 2018.

"When Bernier filed the Elections Canada paperwork seeking official party status for his new People's Party of Canada in early October, he told reporters he wants to set up associations for his new People's Party of Canada in all of the country's 338 federal ridings. It was a big ask for a party that just got its name in September, only a month after Bernier shocked conservatives across Canada by announcing he'd be leaving the party to create his own....

"Saskatchewan already has nine out of 14 set up, including one in each of the six combined ridings in Saskatoon and Regina. Efforts are underway [in] all of the remaining ridings. Rural areas are lagging behind, according to Ethan Erkiletian, who has been key in forming PPC riding associations in the province. All ridings are pending registration under Elections Canada.

"The party claims to have signed up more than 22,477 members nationally but told CBC it won't be sharing regional membership statistics until November at the earliest. South Saskatchewan PPC field organizer Nigel Sharp said Regina's biggest riding association has nearly 100 members right now.

"With Bernier's headquarters in Gatineau, QC housing only four paid PPC staffers, the heavy lifting — and credit for membership growth — lands on the shoulders of Bernier's loyal supporters, most of whom supported his failed Conservative leadership bid....

"For now, Saskatoon-University remains the core. 'That's where our groundswell of support is up here. All of this, remember, is quite spontaneous and quite self-actualized. So as we've seen support spring up it's really just completely self-motivated,' Erkiletian said....

"Bernier would like to drop immigration levels down to Harper era numbers, around 90,000 less than current projections for 2020.... Erkiletian said people online have called him everything from xenophobe to a white supremacist. 'When you do draw yourself into the public debate people will resort to these tactics, especially if you are part of a movement such as Maxime Bernier's which is trying to speak openly and honestly about issues of contention,' he said....

"Erkiletian said he's just received a letter from Elections Canada to confirm that he is a party member. It takes 250 confirmed members to officially be declared a party. For now, members are willingly taking on expenses like booking meeting rooms and travel with no promise of being reimbursed until the party is official."

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