Campbell Clark offers his views, positive and negative, about Maxime Bernier’s new federal political party, The People’s Party of Canada, and the kind of voter who supports
Appropriate Subject Area(s):
Social studies, current events
Key Question(s) to Explore:
- What platform and principles does the new federal People’s Party of Canada stand for?
Clickbait, tin-foil hat, fledgling, globalist, partisan, constituencies
Globe article, Internet
Introduction to lesson and task:
The 2019 federal election is set for October, and one new party is planning to field candidates in all federal ridings—the People’s Party of Canada. Started by former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier, the PPC is almost unknown to Canadians at this point, but support is growing. The PPC combines fundamental principles of libertarianism (see a Libertarian website: https://www.lp.org/platform/) with populist themes that have done well with politicians such as Donald Trump and Doug Ford.
For students of voting age and for others who may join political conversations, it is important to learn about this new party as expressed in its own words and to be familiar with more other, more critical, reviews of its intentions and followers. Students will work in groups to compare three views of the party: from the attached article by Campbell Clark; from the official PPC website (https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/platform); and from the respected academic/journalistic website, The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/what-i-learned-at-a-peoples-party-of-canada-rally-107051).
Action (lesson plan and task):
Consider starting on a light note by asking students to define some metaphors, memes and colloquialisms drawn from Mr. Clark’s article. This may be of significant value to ESL students, who may find the following confusing (answers in parentheses):
- “Mad Max” (A meme referring to an old movie starring Mel Gibson; here it appears to denote Maxime Bernier as, at minimum, radical, but likely the use of the meme is an attempt at humour)
- “Clickbait” (Provocative online content intended to get users to click through to other websites)
- “Tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories” (Decades ago, some people believed that aliens/Communists/the government were reading and/or controlling their minds. To protect themselves, some wore tinfoil hats. Over time, tinfoil-hat came to apply derogatorily to some conspiracy theorists)
- “Hot buttons” (Doing, saying, or writing something to deliberately provoke a strong emotional response from a specific person or group)
- “Follow him down those rabbit holes” (A metaphor for venturing into the unknown; a reference from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, where Alice follows a rabbit down a hole and finds herself in Wonderland)
Find out what students already know about Maxime Bernier and his new People’s Party of Canada. Discuss briefly, then assign the following:
Students will work in groups. Each group will have one of the following three worksheets. In each case, students will use their specific resource to compose a description of Maxime Bernier and his PPC. Following the exercise, students will report, orally, to compare different views of the PPC, based on three different sources: Campbell Clark’s article (attached to the lesson); the official PPC website (https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/platform); and from the website, The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/what-i-learned-at-a-peoples-party-of-canada-rally-107051 )
Each group should review their own source, then answer these questions/prompts (Note: Not all of these articles contain answers or information about all these points. Make a note if that applies to your group):
- Who started the PPC? What political experience does he bring? What reasons does he provide for starting a new political party?
- Describe the PPC’s position, in broad terms, on the following:
- Immigration, refugees
- The United Nations
- “World Government”
- Gun laws
- Free speech
- Environment, fossil fuels
- The role of government
- If you can, describe in general terms what kind of person seems to gravitate to this new party. Give reasons why you think this is the case.
- Poll your group: is this a party and leader you could or would vote for? Give reasons for your position.
Consolidation of Learning:
- Students compare their reports at the end of class, or in a subsequent session, noting the differences about their impressions of the PPC and Mr. Bernier.
- In simple terms, students can describe the PPC, what it stands for, and provide some critiques of its platform.
- Ask students to report when they see new online or broadcast news about Mr. Bernier and the PPC.