Spurned Conservative hopeful switches sides

Now a member of the People’s Party of Canada

Unsuccessful Conservative Party of Canada nomination candidate Gerald Caron, right, has joined the People’s Party of Canada. He’s shown here with party leader Maxime Bernier. (contributed)

One of the people turned down in an attempt to be a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination for the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding for the October federal election has now joined the newly-formed People’s Party of Canada party.

Vanderhoof resident and educator Gerald Caron, who began campaigning as a candidate for the nomination last summer, says he doesn’t know why he wasn’t accepted.

“The only information I got, and this is third hand, is that if ‘Gerald only knew why he’s not been approved, he’d be so angry’,” said Caron.

But Caron did acknowledge that in his teaching profession and within the Conservative party he’s known by some as a “loose cannon, basically that” for standing up for his beliefs.

And he suspects he was kept dangling as a potential nomination candidate simply so he could sell more party memberships.

READ MORE: Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Caron was a candidate for the Conservative nomination for the Cariboo – Prince George riding for the 2015 federal election before withdrawing to become a candidate for the nomination for the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding, only to withdraw from that contest as well. He has also held executive positions within the Skeena – Bulkley Valley Conservative riding association.

As to why he’s now joined the People’s Party of Canada, Caron said he’s attracted to party leader Maxime Bernier and to like-minded members of the new party which is regarded as being more right wing than the Conservative party.

Bernier, a Quebec Member of Parliament, formed the new party last year after running a close second to current Conservative leader Andrew Scheer in a 2017 leadership race.

“I have three boys and a daughter that age group, 20-to-30 somethings. Over the years I met a lot of people in that age group in the [Conservative] party and now I’m finding that the group who gravitated around me are now with Maxime,” said Caron.

He noted that the French name for the new party, Parti Populaire du Canada, literally translates into English as the “popular party”.

Caron is now planning to be at the by-election campaign headquarters of Burnaby South People’s Party of Canada candidate Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson on voting day, Feb. 25.

He’s hinting that depending upon the results of that by-election in which NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is also running, he may run for the People’s Party of Canada in the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding.

READ MORE: People’s Party of Canada chooses B.C. women as its first candidate

A mid-January poll put Singh in the lead with Tyler Thompson running behind the Liberal and Conservative candidates at 9 per cent support.

Caron wasn’t the only person not to be accepted as a candidate. Manon Joice who, like Caron, mounted a social media campaign was turned down as was Terrace resident MaryAnn Freeman.

“I don’t know why I’ve been disqualified,” said Freeman. “I’m greatly disappointed.”

“Somebody had said ‘yes’ and now all of a sudden, it’s a ‘no’.”

Reasons as to why Caron, Joice and Freeman were not accepted as nomination candidates were not forthcoming from Conservative party headquarters.

Party members chose Kitimat’s Claire Rattèe for the 2019 federal election this fall.

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