Maxime Bernier revealed new candidates running for his People’s Party of Canada in the upcoming federal election in Toronto and the surrounding area.
This includes Renata Ford, widow of late Toronto mayor Rob Ford whose brother Doug is the Premier of Ontario. She will be running for Etobicoke North.
WATCH BELOW: ‘There’s no political correctness with us’: PPC leader Maxime Bernier
“We are in the game,” Bernier told the crowd on Friday afternoon at the Royal Military Institute in Toronto. “I won’t be the only one elected on the 21st of October.”
Bernier told the crowd that Elections Canada has confirmed 271 PPC candidates across the country so far. He plans to have candidates in all 338 federal ridings by July.
In a bio handed out at the press conference, the party describes Renata Ford as “an integral part of the success enjoyed by Councillor and then Mayor Rob Ford — without a doubt one of the most influential and impactful politicians in the history of Toronto.”
Surrounded by dozens of other PPC candidates for Ontario, Ford said she believes the party to be the “only legitimate alternative” and that she is “energized by the strong experienced leader, Maxime Bernier.”
In his speech, Bernier doubled down on his commitments to do politics differently, and made jabs at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, calling them “the same person.”
Bernier formed the PPC last year after losing the Conservative Party leadership race by a slim margin to Andrew Scheer. He has vowed to have candidates running in all 338 federal ridings and, so far, has more than 200.
There are 39 candidates running in Toronto and the surrounding region.
He is currently the MP for Beauce in Quebec.
The most recent polls suggest the PPCs are registering around three per cent of the vote. However, the party has garnered sizeable fundraising contributions during the first quarter of this year, nearly matching the historic $783,000 raised by the Green Party, which was founded 36 years ago.
So far, the party has attracted candidates with a wide range of viewpoints, some of which appear to be conflicting. Some candidates say they are just disillusioned with the Conservative Party, some are conspiracy theorists, some are libertarians. Many devotees cite Bernier’s outspoken personality and populist ideology as reasons why they support the party.
In May, Bernier defended one Quebec candidate, Ken Pereira, who likened the movement to curb climate change to the Islamic State.
“The climate agenda is as harmful for Western youth as the radical Islamic State is for their youth,” Pereira tweeted last March.
READ MORE: Meet Maxime Bernier’s new Quebec candidate
Pereira, who was previously a whistleblower for corruption in Quebec’s construction industry and is now known for his provocative online persona, has also claimed that autism is linked to the measles vaccine.
“He defends our values and believes in our values, and that’s what’s important for us,” a PPC spokesperson told the Canadian Press.
On Thursday, Rocky Dong, PPC candidate for Burnaby North-Seymour in British Columbia, released a video of himself wearing boxing gloves and “punching” against the carbon tax and “unvetted immigration.”
Bernier has been gradually revealing parts of his electoral platform in recent weeks, including phasing out foreign aid, abolishing supply management, limiting immigration and leaving climate change policies up to the provinces. Much of his plan mirrors the policies he ran on during the Conservative Party leadership race last year.
On Thursday, the PPC announced its plan on “how to protect Canadians from censorship and discrimination.” This would include restricting the current definition of hate speech in the Criminal Code and repealing “any existing legislation or regulation curtailing free speech on the internet.