Column like I see 'em - Canadian politics needs to cut off the fringe


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Even at the best of times, the Canadian political process can be a little stupid. It just got a whole lot stupider recently, as the Wexit movement has officially become a federal political party. On Friday, Jan. 10, Elections Canada announced that Wexit Canada, as it will officially be known, is registered as a political party for future federal elections.

If you’re curious about how Wexit received this prestigious status, let me walk you through the complexities. To receive federal recognition, you’re required to submit the names, addresses and signatures of 250 electors, who are members of the party and support the party’s application for registration. But don’t worry, though that may sound as though it’s super easy and barely even an inconvenience, there is more to it…You also need to provide a logo and the purpose of the party. It doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as you have them.

For those of you blissfully out of the loop on this, the “purpose” of Wexit is for a portion of the prairies to declare independence from Canada and secede from the British Commonwealth. They wish to essentially end this nation as we know it. Elections Canada looked at this plan and not only approved it, but granted them tax and election expense benefits for their troubles. Are you seeing the stupid yet?

Cut the fringe

How the hell did we get to this point, where any group with a name, an agenda and a Facebook page could realistically be standing at a debate podium next to Justin, Jagmeet and whatever Ken doll the Conservatives serve up as their new leader? And I’m not just targeting Wexit Canada here, though they are the tipping point for me. The legitimacy of the Bloc Québécois is pretty suspect in my mind as well.

Why are the Bloc, who, un parti qui se bat pour le meilleur intérêt du Québec et du Québec à Ottawa, getting consistently invited to the English debate?! They fielded just 78 candidates in the last election, that’s a measly 23 per cent of the total available seats. Who were their candidates in Moose Jaw and Flin Flon!?

Where is your plus one?

In a statement made after the confirmation of federal status, Wexit Canada leader Peter Downing said the plan is to nominate 104 candidates to federal ridings in four provinces — Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. That equates to just 31 per cent of the country’s ridings. Sure, that’s better than the Bloc Québécois, but that’s still not good enough.

Here’s how we clean up the field and eliminate some of these turbocharged tribalism fringe parties we’re dealing with. Every political party must run a candidate in at least 170 ridings. That’s 50 per cent of the seats in Canadian parliament, plus one. Problem solved! Let’s see how the Bloc’s ideas play in Prince Albert. Let’s find out how Wexit does in Trois-Rivières.  It’s time to stop letting the regional fringe parties breathe in all the political air, because it’s suffocating the national conversation.

Disclaimer: Column like I see ‘em is a monthy opinion column for the Neepawa Banner & Press. The views expressed in the article are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Neepawa Banner & Press.