Editor’s Note: With the federal election of September 20, 2021 now a part of Canadian history and the country resuming its former chaotic state of dissension The Cariboo Sentinel contacted the Peoples Party of Canada candidate for the Cariboo-Prince George riding, Jeremy Gustafson and ask him if he might provide its readers with a short interview. Jeremy told The Cariboo Sentinel that he would be happy to do so. As Editor and Publisher I wish to thank Jeremy for taking the time out of his busy schedule (he’s back home in Horsefly getting his winter supply of firewood together) to respond to a few questions.
E-Interview with PPC candidate Jeremy Gustafson
Well Jeremy from all indications your first federal campaign here in Cariboo-Prince George for the Peoples Party of Canada proved to be quite a success given that you had only recently moved up to the central interior from the coast. I’m sure that the thousands of PPC supporters living in the riding who worked and voted for you would enjoy hearing about how the whole drama unfolded and how you perceived it.
As flattering as 4160 votes were, credit must go to the PPC and our platform since my campaign was mainly spent just trying to catch up. I just moved up from the coast July 1, didn’t know a single person, and more importantly, no one knew me, and the local EDA had just been deregistered by Elections Canada. Not to mention my new property was buried in goat dung and stinging nettle and the previous owners sold all the firewood. It took a month but I found a Financial Agent and with me as CEO reformed the EDA.
Then the election was called, and I discovered living 40 km from a cell signal and 3.5 hours drive from Prince George posed even more challenges.
Next challenge was getting 100 nomination signatures by Aug 30 in times of COVID. I had one volunteer working on her own but it was slow going. I don’t like Facebook and wasn’t happy about having to make a Page but to give credit where credit is due, my Facebook Page made my campaign. Through my Page I heard about a Medical Tyranny protest in Prince George the next day, so I sped to Williams Lake, bought a colour printer, whipped up a quick leaflet, and spent the night printing and folding. Next day on my way to the Medical Tyranny protest in Prince George I passed through another one in Quesnel, so I pulled over and got my first signatures there. By the end of the weekend I had them all.
Next challenge was coming up with lawn signs without bankrupting myself since I had no donations and didn’t even have a campaign bank account open yet to be able to accept donations. The solution was 560 stickers to recycle my 2019 lawn signs, which, because I live in the middle of nowhere, I applied by myself, for 12 hours. After a week, the Facebook Page was getting more exposure and I came up with volunteers to act as sign depots in Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George and Vanderhoof.
By week 3, I was swamped, too many emails, Facebook messages, and interviews to keep up with. I had people that wanted to volunteer but no one wanted to be a campaign manager or volunteer coordinator so I had nothing for them. One woman was persistent though and she took over as campaign manager. If my Facebook Page made my campaign, my campaign manager stopped it from exploding. The last 2 weeks were mainly debates and meet and greets. I never knocked on a single door. Overall, a completely positive experience and I met hundreds of kind and generous people.
Now that all the numbers are likely in could you tell readers about how the overall response to the PPC turned out across the country and what this might mean for the party?
Terrific results for the Party. I know there was massive disappointment we didn’t get a seat but frankly that was an unrealistic goal for a 3 year old Party. A supporter in Quesnel told me her granny refused to believe we’re a real party because we weren’t in the TV debate and that’s a big problem for us, we’re still unknown to many Canadians. Now with over 800,000 votes we can’t be so easily ignored and hidden in the “Other” category in the polls. And there’s now funding that federal parties get with 5% of the vote, that we didn’t qualify for last time. Although the final count has us down to 4.9% of the vote now we’ll see how that plays out.
Given that the federal election results ended up with the country being more or less in the same situation as it was prior to September 20, 2021 how do you see the roll of the PPC in the coming months and years ahead? Will the party continue to grow?
The PPC will continue to grow. We had a few bandwagon jumpers after the 2019 election but we became stronger for it. And now we’ve tripled our vote share. Plus now that we’re the only major party (i.e. enough candidates for a majority) that wants to preserve our personal freedoms we’re attracting more votes from all across the political spectrum. I intend to run again and want to build more support and recognition for the party in the meantime. First though I have to spend the next month at least getting ready for winter.
The elections results would indicate that there are a growing number of Canadians who are fed up with all the status quo parties and are looking for one that will represent their concerns, especially when it comes to the direction that all the other parties are headed in with respect to the lockdowns and vaccine passport restrictions that are and will affect Canadians’ fundamental rights and freedoms. Having attending forums throughout the Cariboo-Prince George riding and listened to all the other candidates present their solutions to this global crisis how do you see this important issue unfolding given the fact that the Liberal, NDP and Conservative Party of Canada are still in positions of power?
I was in 4 debates this campaign, 2 were live and 2 were on Zoom. Not only were zero questions asked about the suspension of our rights and freedoms for lockdowns, vaccine passports, and mandatory vaccinations, I’m now remembering there was only one question about COVID at all, “Name one thing right and one thing wrong the Liberals did with their COVID response.” So it appears outside of my bubble of hospital protests and freedom rallies nobody wants to talk about the loss of our freedoms. And in light of having just read the The New Kulaks article in The Cariboo Sentinel I think things are going to get a lot worse, as more vaccinated people keep getting infected.
What final words can you say to all those in the riding of Cariboo-Prince George who voted for the PPC and may now be feeling a bit hopeless given the overall results of the election?
For PPC voters feeling hopeless, politics is a long game. Your vote isn’t to elect anybody right now, your vote is to grow the PPC. It’s the grunt work, there’s no immediate reward but it’s the only way forward. Why weren’t we in the debates? Not enough votes. Why don’t we get the same funding the Major Parties get? Not enough votes. In our second election in the three years we’ve existed we parlayed 270K votes to 840K votes and we are on the map for the next election now. That’s because of your vote.
Thank you Jeremy for sharing your thoughts and ideas. We look forward to keeping tabs on the PPC in the times ahead and wish you God speed in your continuing efforts to build up the membership and keep the party unified.
Jeremy Gustafson can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org