Bob Forbes wants people who think “none of the above” when it comes to federal politics to give his party a second look.
Forbes, 58, of Caledonia, is the People’s Party of Canada candidate in Haldimand-Norfolk.
The PPC is the brainchild of Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, a former Conservative cabinet minister, who struck out on his own after losing the party leadership race to Andrew Scheer in 2017.
The PPC has positioned itself as a populist vehicle for voters who feel the other parties don’t speak to their needs and aspirations or their hopes for Canada’s future.
“I’ve talked to people from Lowbanks to Long Point to Langton,” Forbes said. “They’re tired. They’re disillusioned. They’re fed up with traditional politics and that’s wrong. These people are looking at the PPC platform and are saying, ‘That makes sense to me.’”
Forbes recently retired after 30 years with Janssen Pharmaceutica, the pharmaceutical wing of Johnson and Johnson.
With the PPC defining itself as a right-of-centre party, Forbes is ready for the critics who fear it will split the Conservative vote in the Oct. 21 election and allow the incumbent Liberals to win seats they might otherwise have lost.
Forbes replies that Bernier and the PPC would have no void to fill had the mainstream parties remained true to traditional Canadian values. He defines these as orderly immigration, hard work, respect for risk and entrepreneurship, and free and open markets.
All the other parties, Forbes added, stand for the welfare state; for taking from the productive and giving to the willfully dependent.
A key plank in the PPC platform includes equalization reforms that would reduce bureaucracy, red tape and dependence in Quebec and on the east coast. Forbes said the PPC would encourage, in their place, a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.
“We need to re-think this arrangement,” said Forbes, noting that public-sector employment in the so-called “have-not” provinces accounts, in some places, for nearly 50 per cent of the workforce.
“The formula needs to be reworked. We can’t continue to bail these people out. We need more private businesses growing in these provinces.”
The PPC has confirmed 300 candidates for the federal election. Bernier has pledged to run candidates in all 338 ridings.
Forbes and his wife, Mona, have two daughters.