Election polling is showing the People's Party of Canada growing in support. Why is this and what does it mean for the future of Canada's political landscape?
These questions will be explored in the coming weeks, I am hearing of work being done by national journalists and academics to answer some of these questions.
Here in Hamilton, I am seeing many blue-collar acquaintances joining the PPC for a variety of reasons. The PPC is appealing to people I know who have a working class conservatism, a "live and let live" approach to social issues, and who are disenchanted at mainstream discourse.
Can the PPC morph into a new political movement much as the Reform Party did in the late 1980s and early 1990s? The early Reform Party was disorganized with many embarassing members. Once it gained skilled organizers, it became a political movement which reshaped Canadian politics and brought about the end of the national Progressive Conservative party.
Rupa Subramanya of the National Post profiles a founding member of the PPC 46-year-old Arvind Sood who "migrated to Canada from India in 2003 and works for a major insurance company" and 41-year-old Vishal Chittee who "immigrated to Canada in 2015 from India, where he worked as a brand manager. After being laid off during the pandemic, he presently works as a door to door salesman."
Returning to Hamilton, the acquaintances I see joining the PPC are political novices. They are driven to action by the housing affordability crisis - they are owners but cannot move as their families grow in size - and frustation with the provincial mismanagement of the COVID pandemic.
They were deemed essential workers and forced to deal with the brunt of both working outside their homes while homeschooling their children all while being told they should not be mixing with other households. The rules were impractical for them - go to work and being exposed to hundreds of people each day, but do not have your kids go over to their friends to work on school work together.
A few were infected by COVID, likely catching the virus at work. They resent being told to get vaccinated when they have antibodies. They are not conspiracy theorists, they are not into quack ideas, they have determined they are satisified having suffered COVID their natural immunity will take care of any near future bouts.
The divide between the working class and white collar professions has grown during the pandemic, both economically and socially. What little personal interaction which existed before the pandemic is now effectively gone.
The PPC is not a response to the pandemic. While it does represent the only party against many public health measures, and a chunk of its new supporters are identifiying with it for this reason, the PPC appears much more complex than this.
The NP column is an early piece of journalism into the dynamics and hopefully more will follow in the coming weeks and months.