A day in the parallel universe of Mad Max

To follow Maxime Bernier’s campaign on the ground is to enter a parallel universe.

We kiss, tighten the clamp, without mask or distance, between militants for the vast majority unvaccinated. A pre or post COVID-19 universe.

Maxime Bernier arrived in Chatham aboard this cosmic limousine.

Photo Guillaume St-Pierre

Maxime Bernier arrived in Chatham aboard this cosmic limousine.

I spent a whole day following Mad Max’s trailer in southern Ontario this week.

I met all kinds of people there. Young people, old people, many families. All had one thing in common: a visceral hatred of containment measures, masks and vaccines, even if these “freedom fighters” reject the label outright.

“We are not anti-vaccines, we are in favor of freedom of choice,” they hammer home.

By scratching the varnish of freedom a little resurface all kinds of strange theories. The vaccine would be ineffective, it would have caused tens of thousands of deaths that governments are not talking about.

When he arrives at a rally in Chatham in southern Ontario, Maxime Bernier gives a thumbs-up as several fans wait for him.

Photo Guillaume St-Pierre

When he arrives at a rally in Chatham in southern Ontario, Maxime Bernier gives a thumbs-up as several fans wait for him.

We would all be victims of a deception, a large-scale medical experiment, without our knowledge.

Many devout believers too, who prefer to rely on God rather than modern medicine.

“We are at war”

First stop: Sarnia, at the Canada-US border. The Leaky Tank is packed on Wednesday morning.

The owner of the truck-stop, Sherry Lee Stewart, is in the kitchen, without a mask, like all of her staff. In fact, I’m the only one wearing one in the crowded little restaurant. The interview will take place outside.

Sherry discovered the existence of the People’s Party during the pandemic. This is the case with a large number of activists I have met.

“We are victims of crimes against humanity,” she says, speaking of compulsory vaccination. We are at war. “

Ontario is due to adopt the vaccine passport this week. Sherry has no intention of forcing it on her clients.

Segregation and Nazism

The next stop is a gunsmith on the side of a country road crossing endless farms in the village of Inwood.

Also in Chatham, Maxime Bernier takes the time to greet the crowd.

Photo Guillaume St-Pierre

Also in Chatham, Maxime Bernier takes the time to greet the crowd.

War rhetoric punctuates the speeches of Mad Max and his guests.

“Next Monday, it’s not just an election, it’s a war on our freedoms,” proclaimed deposed Progressive Conservative MP Randy Hillier on stage.

Hillier has been disowned by his party because of his anti-confinement positions. Bernier, Hillier and their guests go there with exalted references to the segregation of blacks in the United States and to the Nazi regime.

For them, the vaccine passport is the gateway to hell, or worse, communism.

The London stop is one of the busiest of the day. Hundreds of people came to hear Mad Max. The crowd is compact and enthusiastic. It brings together for Bernier the famous silent majority.

Mad Max likes to end his speeches with a quote from John F. Kennedy

“When tyranny becomes law, revolution is our duty. ”

Tyranny, really?

In an interview, Mad Max insists: “Yes, it’s tyranny. I cannot go to restaurants, to the theater, because I have decided not to be vaccinated. “

“It’s segregation. ”

The campaign joker

The pandemic gave wings to Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada (PPC), carried by the anti-vaccine movement.

But several unknowns hover over the real weight that this nebula will have on election night.

On the one hand, pollsters do not agree on the support for Mad Max’s party among the population. The polls fluctuate between 4 and more than 10%!

This range is nevertheless considerably higher than the score of the PPC in the elections of 2019, of 1.7%.

A first deputy?

Will we see a first purple MP enter the House of Commons?

Pollsters think not, its support being too scattered.

His best chances rest once again on Bernier himself, in Beauce, according to pollster Nik Nanos.

The turnout of Mad Max supporters is also difficult to predict.

“The PPC is the anti-system gang. Are they going to come out and put on a mask just to go and vote? Asks pollster Jean-Marc Léger.

I asked about 30 people I met in the Bernier rallies last week if they intended to vote. The overwhelming majority had already exercised their right to advance polls.

That said, those who move through these events with their fists in the air are not very representative of the average voter.

Confuse the cards

Failing to elect a member of Parliament, could the PPC come to scramble the cards in certain tight constituencies?

Here again, the pollsters do not agree.

The strength of the PPC is mainly found in Conservative territory, including southern Ontario where I visited.

I saw many activists there and very motivated, but united mainly by a feeling of anti-vaccine, confinement, etc.

According to Bernier, his best chance in this province rests with Chelsea Hillier, in the rural riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London.

But the coast is steep.

Conservative Karen Vecchio won the seat with more than 50% of the vote in 2019, far ahead of the then-PPC candidate, who finished with a paltry 1.5%.

Who else than the antivax?

Is the PPC the party of one issue? If so, its potential at the polls is in my opinion quite limited.

On the other hand, if Bernier’s libertarian message resonates beyond the crowd of antivax, it could continue to surprise.

Let us also recall that the PPC has the tacit support of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, according to an investigation by the Toronto Star.

“I’ve been saying this for years that these people are not welcome in our party”, defends Maxime Bernier in an interview.

So why this support?

“They don’t understand our platform, it’s that simple. “


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