People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier recently dropped by the federal riding of Thornhill, just north of Toronto, to address an energetic crowd numbering in the hundreds.
Bernier spoke on a wide range of topics, including: the ongoing attack on free speech by both big tech and big government; immigration numbers (which Bernier would like to see reduced); the carbon tax and vaccine passports (Bernier is vehemently against both); and of course, his pledge to defund the CBC and eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-funded welfare to other mainstream media outlets. Bernier noted unapologetically that if the business plans of these media companies don’t work without the subsidies, then “they’ll go bankrupt.”
As well, Bernier predicted that the PPC has a good chance to win two or three seats in the upcoming federal election (including his own seat in Beauce, Que., which he narrowly lost to Conservative Richard Lehoux in 2019).
Samuel Greenfield, the PPC Thornhill candidate, was also on hand. Greenfield noted that he’s been receiving a warm reception in the riding when door-knocking, given that constituents are not exactly smitten with the new Conservative candidate, Melissa “Lockdown” Lantsman, who is taking the place of veteran Peter Kent, who is retiring.
Thornhill has long been considered a “safe” riding for the Conservatives. But that could very well change this time around, given the negativity swirling around Lantsman.
For starters, many are claiming there were shenanigans during the nomination event a few months ago. Sources allege that the other candidate who vied for the nomination, Ontario PC MPP Gila Martow, fell victim to a screw job. Martow is a veteran politician who is well-liked and well-respected, and according to her camp, exit polls at the nomination contest indicated she had a whopping 70 per cent of the vote. So, it was shocking when Lantsman was declared the victor (so shocking, indeed, that Lantsman didn’t even have a victory speech prepared).
The Conservative party has refused to green-light an audit of the ballots. Sources also say that the Conservative Party wanted Lantsman as the candidate, as she is openly lesbian and her inclusion into the party ranks would prove that the Conservatives are a “big tent” organization vis-a-vis diversity.
But Lantsman brings along considerable baggage.
She was Doug Ford’s war room director in 2018 and helped create slogans such as “For the People” and “Ontario: Open for Business.” But last year, Lantsman resumed duties as a lobbyist and successfully lobbied for her client, Walmart. Which is to say Lantsman went to Premier Ford and ensured that the multibillion-dollar U.S.-based conglomerate would be exempt from any COVID closure rules, whereas that would not be the case for ma and pa businesses in Ontario.
The question arises: how can it be that in 2021 “Lockdown” Lantsman is suddenly reinventing herself as a woman of the people? Talk about chutzpah!
Interestingly, a few days before the Bernier rally in Thornhill, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole dropped by the riding to take part in a rally, too. Only a few dozen people bothered to show up. The following day, O’Toole dropped by the Richmond Hill riding, which the Conservatives almost won in 2019. The turnout for that rally was almost non-existent.
In the final analysis, we will find out next month if Bernier’s prediction of the PPC winning up to three seats will come to fruition. But in the here and now, based on the pathetic turnouts to Erin O’Toole rallies in Toronto’s suburbs, these are surely dire indicators that an electoral slaughter is in the making…