He’s a lifelong Conservative, but now Vernon’s Art Robatzek is leaning towards Canada’s potential new political party.
Maxime Bernier, who lost the Conservative leadership nomination bid to Andrew Scheer, announced Friday he was going to be forming his own political organization, the People’s Party of Canada. An informational meeting on the party drew Robatzek and about 2o others to Vernon’s The Green Pub in the Village Green Hotel Monday.
“I think Mr. Scheer is a really nice person but I just don’t believe he’s really a leader,” said Robatzek, 83, who just returned from the Conservative Party convention in Halifax. “With all due respect, I think he’d like to be but I think he sold himself down the river by associating himself with supply management because that’s the No. 1 issue in this country.”
Topping the list of Bernier’s principles and policies is ending supply management, a Canadian system that permits special commodity sectors like dairy, poultry and eggs to limit the supply of its products to what Canadian citizens are expected to eat in order to have stable, predictable prices.
The system has been supported by the federal government in its agricultural pricing policies for more than 100 years, but the current system can be traced back to the 1960s.
“I feel that people in Canada are not getting their fair share,” said Robatzek, a 61-year auctioneer who also owns and operates a construction company “to get his daily physical exercise. “The majority of people are struggling, trying to make end’s meet. We’ve got costly dairy products which are a product every family should have growing up. Chickens and eggs, their prices are exceptionally high, making it more difficult for people to make end’s meet.
“Supply management, as an organization, is outdated.”
Glen Walushka, founder of the Wild Rose Party in Alberta, co-hosted Monday’s meeting along with Janet Green. Both are former Conservatives and former members of the North Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative Riding Association.
Walushka feels Bernier gives the People’s Party of Canada instant credibility.
“He’s walked the talk,” said Walushka. “You have to have a person who’s had to earn a dime the hard way. Have some business insight and background, make some tough decisions, and do what’s the greatest good for the greatest number. You have to put some of your emotions aside and actually govern and manage a country. Have to have somebody with strength.
“Bernier does that. And we’re looking for somebody with the same quality and attributes who can challenge legitimately in this riding in 2019.”
The party can’t become official until a by-election is called somewhere in Canada, and the party can roll out a candidate.
“We’ll start building a group and sharing information,” said Walushka, who said his digital equipment has been going non-stop with messages since Bernier announced the news on Friday.
“We’ve had people signing forms but the party will be idling until we become official. We anticipate sometime in the next three-to-six-months that opportunity will come up.”
Asked if Bernier could make a dent in the next federal election, Robatzek didn’t hesitate.
“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he’ll have more seats than the Conservative Party,” he said.
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