A B.C. candidate for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) who asked its leader, Maxime Bernier, to denounce racism and white supremacy has been told he’s no longer running for the party.
Brian Misera was the PPC candidate for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam until Wednesday, when he received an email explaining that his status as an approved candidate has been revoked.
His name no longer appears on the party’s website, which no longer links to his Twitter and Facebook profiles.
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Misera tells Global News the email came as a shock, and believes it was sent after he called out Bernier and the party for not disavowing the support of racists and far-right groups.
He says he sent an email to Bernier directly, asking him to “please do more to help us disassociate from far-right groups that really have no place in our society.”
“I wanted him to do more to make it very, very clear that we don’t represent them, we don’t want their support,” he said.
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Soon afterwards, he says he received the email from the party, which Misera shared with Global News.
“You will not be allowed to participate further in the electoral process as the PPC Candidate for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam,” the email reads. “We hope you will continue to support the People’s Party of Canada.”
Misera, who has a business degree from Simon Fraser University, says he wanted to get involved with the PPC because he wanted to dive head-first into politics, and didn’t want to wait years before becoming a candidate for a more established party like the Liberals or Conservatives.
He says he also supported Bernier’s platform and ideas.
“I felt that he was really concerned about increasing costs on Canadians without rising wages,” he said.
But he says he regularly heard from people on the campaign trail who called him a “Nazi” and “racist” when they found out he was a PPC candidate. He received similar comments after becoming more active on social media, posting videos of his time meeting with voters.
He became further troubled after seeing people with ties to far-right groups and ideologies either express support for the party or become members themselves, to which commenters also alerted him.
“It didn’t make sense to me, because the platform says nothing about race,” he said. “It’s a rejection of PC culture and this … race-based hierarchy.”
After following up on the comments and doing his own research, Misera said he wanted to ensure the party he was running for didn’t support people with views to which he says he’s very much opposed.
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“I mean, like, we’ve had a couple of people being outed for being legitimate Nazis, and I just don’t know what to say,” Misera said. “It really smears the whole group.”
One of those people, former electoral organizer Shaun Walker, was removed from the party last month after it was discovered he was convicted in Utah in 2007 for his role in attacks by the National Alliance neo-Nazi group that were meant to intimidate minorities.
Messages shared with Misera also point out the support of people like former university instructor Brian Ruhe, who has expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler.
In an email to Global News, PPC executive director Johanne Mennie said Misera’s candidacy was revoked after he admitted to acting as his own financial agent, a violation of Elections Canada rules.
Misera says that’s not true, arguing he doesn’t have any team at all to help him collect donations.
Elections Canada states a financial agent must be appointed before a candidate can accept a contribution, incur an electoral campaign expense or file a nomination paper.
Further questions to the PPC, including why those issues weren’t addressed before Misera was acclaimed as the candidate for the riding, have not been answered.
The party has also not responded to whether Bernier received a message from Misera, or if the party leader has a response to Misera’s criticisms.
When asked by reporters in Edmonton in July to respond to criticism after a photo emerged of him posing with members of the Northern Guard, a reportedly “anti-Muslim” organization that allegedly has ties to neo-Nazism, Bernier said people who don’t share the PPC’s values aren’t welcome.
“People who are racist and anti-Semitic, they’re not welcome in our party,” he said.
Also in July, five Winnipeg PPC members left the party over allegations the federal party is harbouring racists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists.
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The party has since taken a stand against “mass immigration,” promising to cap the number of immigrants entering the country at 150,000 per year.
Misera says he will continue to support the party and defend it from accusations of racism and far-right ties, but he wants the party to take that stand itself and make clear its immigration policies are not based on race.
He’s also heartbroken that he’s no longer a candidate.
“I’m just at a loss,” he said. “I’m still in shock.”
— With files from Andrew Russell, Stewart Bell, Jesse Ferreras and Alexa MacLean