CTV News | Federal Election 2019
Maxime Bernier faces new challenger in Beauce riding: Maxime Bernier
In this composite image, People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier is shown on the left, and Rhinoceros Party candidate Maxime Bernier stands on the right. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Justin Tang / Rhino Party Leader Sebastien CoRhino Corriveau)
People's Party Leader Maxime Bernier isn’t worried about a little confusion when his constituents head to the polls on Oct. 21.
A day after the Rhinoceros Party said it would run a candidate with the same name as Bernier’s in his Quebec riding of Beauce, Bernier told CTV’s Power Play that he expects voters to make the correct choice on the ballot.
“That’s a good joke,” the PPC leader said Wednesday. “I trust the people from my riding --I trust them -- that they will vote for the Maxime Bernier that they know.”
The Rhinoceros Party confirmed in a French press release sent to CTV News on Tuesday that they will run a candidate also named Maxime Bernier in the riding.
"There are many people who tell me: I want to vote for Maxime Bernier, and I want to vote Rhinoceros! And so, I've offered them an option so they can vote Rhino and Bernier!" said Rhino Party Leader Sébastien CoRhino Corriveau in the release, which was written in French.
According to Elections Canada spokesperson Nick Gamache, Bernier's nomination doesn't break any rules.
"I can tell you there's nothing in the Act that would prevent two candidates with the same name to be on the same ballot. The name of the parties would be the difference," Gamache said.
The Rhino Party is a satirical political group that was founded in 1963. According to Corriveau, the party has run hundreds of candidates and received half a million votes.
Its platform includes promises to open tax havens in all provinces, replace teachers on leave with photos of famous scientists, and apply the War Measures Act to the nine provinces "that did not have the privilege in October 1970."
It also pledges to make "sorry" the new official motto of Canada and to nationalize bacon.
Both Berniers face some stiff competition in Beauce. The Conservatives have nominated former local mayor and agricultural entrepreneur Richard Lehoux to face the incumbent Bernier, who was first elected as a Conservative before leaving to form his own party. Lehoux served as a local mayor in Saint-Elzear's for 19 years before leaving to work in agriculture in 2017.
The Liberal candidate in the area is local businessman Adam Veilleux, who finished second to the incumbent Bernier in the last election. The Greens are running candidate Josiane Fortin, who is currently working in the public service and has written four books. The NDP have yet to name their candidate in the riding.
The incumbent Bernier won the last election under the Conservative Party banner with more than 58 per cent of the vote. The only other party to even break over 10 per cent of the vote was the Liberals, whose candidate finished with just over 22 per cent of the vote.
The NDP came in third with just over nine per cent, followed closely by the Bloc. The Green Party Finished with less than two per cent.
The election campaign is slated to begin on Wednesday, and the winner of the Bernier face-off will be determined on election night: Oct 21.