Elections Canada has formally recognized the Barrie/Springwater/Oro-Medonte People’s Party of Canada Association as an official electoral district association.
That means the race is on for the party to find a suitable candidate to carry the party's banner in the upcoming federal election.
The People's Party of Canada (PPC) was officially formed by Maxime Bernier last fall following his resignation from the Conservative Party of Canada.
A former federal leadership candidate for the CPC, Bernier was a runner-up to current Conservative leader Andrew Scheer in the party’s 2017 leadership race.
The new party intends to have candidates in all of the nation’s 338 ridings, said Daniel Boucher, CEO of thePPC's local riding association.
“We are really excited as we are launching our candidate nomination to see if there is anyone interested in running,” said Boucher.
“We have already been in talks with some local community leaders and that is what we are looking for. We want someone to lead that riding who is visible in the community and feels strongly about the area so they will fight for the people of the area," he said.
Alex Nuttal, the current MP for the riding, recently announced he would not be seeking re-election in the upcoming federal election in October, which leaves the riding wide open.
Currently, there are no candidates confirmed for any party though Barrie city councillor Sergio Morales has announced his bid to seek the Conservative nomination and Dan Janssen is looking to run under the NDP banner.
Despite being the new party in town, Boucher believes the PPC is just what the people of the area are looking for.
“Being that the region is a predominantly Conservative riding, we feel we are sitting well heading into the election,” said Boucher. “Mr. Bernier’s popularity with many Conservatives helps us give the community the leadership they are looking for and while only time will tell, we will be actively collecting members soon.”
He noted the current political climate in the province and country is volatile as rallies against the Doug Ford Conservatives occur regularly while the SNC-Lavalin issue continues to plague the Liberals and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Boucher told BarrieToday the solution is to elect the PPC.
“All that is going on throughout the politics of Ontario and Canada only help what we are trying to do for the people of Canada and its local communities,” said Boucher.
The PPC hopes to have a candidate for the BSOM riding by the end of the month to give whoever it is a lot of time to campaign.
Boucher said that Bernier will likely be in the region at some point. While the party wants a strong local leader, all options are on the table.
“Maxime Bernier will be hard at work growing this party during this election time and will be hitting as many ridings as possible, this riding in particular with the announcement of retirement by MP Alex Nuttall,” said Boucher.
“As I said, we have already spoke to a few great candidates and are welcoming more to reach out to us, but anything is possible if we somehow can’t find the right person. We don’t like parachuting someone in, but we won’t rule anything out. Again, it is doubtful for the Barrie/Springwater/Oro-Medonte riding.”
The PPC is still finalizing its platform but their website says it will likely consist of the same policies Bernier was championing when he was seeking the Conservative leadership.