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Canada’s fringe parties aim to ‘stir the pot’ in this election


TORONTO – The top five political parties tend to gain attention in federal elections, but there are actually a total of 22 parties that will have candidates on the ballots across Canada on election day.

Although the chances of these so-called “fringe parties” winning a seat in parliament are slim, some of them are very determined to change the course of political dialogue in this country. Others, meanwhile, are simply in the race to make Canadians laugh.

Jay Hill, leader of the Maverick Party, is looking to break into Conservative-dominated central Alberta.

The party, which began as “Wexit Alberta,” a play about Britain’s “Brexit” movement, is fielding 29 candidates, most of whom are in Alberta, but scattered across western Canada. The party’s platform includes an ultimatum to change equalization payments in favor of Alberta and to give the Prairies more fiscal autonomy.

“If we cannot achieve constitutional reform to finally treat the West fairly and respectfully, then we will pursue independence,” Hill told CTV National News.

On the lighter side, there is the Rhinoceros Party. Its 28 candidates are trying to inject humor into the federal election campaign, promising reforms such as making “sorry” the country’s official motto and abolishing the law of gravity.

The party platform calls just about every issue its “number one priority,” a soft blow against mainstream politicians who try to appease as many people as possible.

“I joined the Rhinoceros Party to be part of the chaos, to stir the pot a bit,” said Vanessa Wang, Calgary Nose Hill candidate.

There is also the Marijuana Party with nine candidates. The party was originally formed to push for the legalization of pot, and although it happened in 2018, party leader Blair T. Longley said the fight was not still finished.

“Our view is that this is bogus legalization,” he told CTV News. “This includes ridiculously restrictive regulations.”

Some bold promises came from the Communist Party of Canada and its 26 candidates, including free post-secondary education, the end of the RCMP and the end of all oil sands production.

“These are great ideas,” said party leader Liz Rowley. “But these are the times that call for big ideas.”

These parties may not win any of Parliament’s 338 seats, but they can make voters think and even laugh in an otherwise grueling campaign.

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