It’s a new year and the Burnaby South byelection is off to a running start. The finishing line is on February 25th and the prize is a temporary seat in the House of Commons as a sitting member of parliament.
The outcome of the British Columbia seat, along with two other ridings in Ontario and Quebec will provide valuable insight for how the October 2019 federal election might turn out.
“We’re going to see a shifting of the nation” in Burnaby South
A sample of voters from Canada’s three most populated provinces will be casting judgement on the performance of the Trudeau government and who they might favor as a replacement.
It will also be the very first time that Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada will run a candidate and compete for another seat in parliament. Currently the only PPC member sitting in the house is the party leader himself, who had a dramatic split from the Conservative Party of Canada in 2018.
That PPC candidate is Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson who joins us here today at The Post Millennial.
Thompson is a former television host at The 700 Club Canada where she presented faith-based programming. She is also an author of several books and has ran for a school trustee seat in Burnaby in 2018, where she lost with 15,622 votes.
“I believe what we’re going to see in Burnaby south is a shifting of the nation, we’re going to see things that begin to come into alignment,” she said.
“First of all they’ve never had a leader in Burnaby South, a leader of one of the four parties come and become a candidate here. They’ve also never had a vocal person like myself who really stands behind freedom.”
The People’s Party of Canada has replaced the Greens as the fourth party to compete against the NDP, Liberals and CPC. Green Party leader Elizabeth May announced that her party won’t run a candidate in the riding as a courtesy to party leader Jagmeet Singh.
Jagmeet Singh’s greatest weakness
Thompson seems to believe that Jagmeet Singh’s greatest weakness will be his lack of connections to the community. Jagmeet—the only party leader to currently not hold a seat—was parachuted into Burnaby South in the hopes that he would secure a place as an MP before October 2019.
“His numbers are sinking, his own people are not too happy, I’ve already heard that there’s just not interest in his bid for this seat. He’s not local to here and so yeah it’s kind of a surprise that he would choose Burnaby South,” said Thompson about the NDP leader.
Being pitted against a party leader will be a profile boost, not just for Thompson, but for the other two candidates as well.
A potential win by the PPC against a national party leader would indicate to competitors that the fledgling party needs to be taken seriously in 2019.
“The left has made it a lot easier for us”
The byelection will also signal to the provincial and federal NDP how satisfied B.C. locals are with its leadership. For the last few federal elections Burnaby South has consistently voted left-wing, and since 2011, the NDP have consistently secured the riding.
“I think that the left has made it a lot easier for us, we have Trudeau making terrible decisions for this last year and a half where we keep seeing all kinds of things happening that are very offensive to Canadians,” said Thompson when asked about the riding’s electoral history.
Among the mistakes Thompson attributed to the Trudeau administration she mentioned the unpopular Canada Summer Jobs attestation and the signing of the UN migration pact in December.
“Burnaby south is already looking at the liberal party sideways because you have a very strong Chinese community who are very conservative here.”
When asked about why the byelection was delayed for so long, Thompson seemed to believe that Justin Trudeau did it for his opponent, Jagmeet Singh’s, benefit.
“He’s moved into a riding, he’s renting an apartment so he can run here and try to be a part of the community but this is not his home town. He wants to get into the house of commons and he wants to make that run for the member of parliament position so I think that Justin Trudeau has withheld it showing some political gaming has been going on. And frankly I just soar above it,” said Thompson about the byelection timing.
Working alongside Maxime Bernier
As I spoke to Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson it became clear that she had a bigger picture view of the election. When speaking about the party, her candidacy and PPC leader Maxime Bernier her language almost bordered on the religious.
If Thompson were to secure the Burnaby South riding for the PPC, she would be working directly alongside party leader Maxime Bernier in parliament.
“My very first desire is to support Maxime Bernier’s plan for Canada, he is the one who has stood tall and strong with courage and I know that I will need to learn a lot from him and I will need to learn a lot about what goes on in the house of commons.”
Maxime Bernier has announced his support for Thompson, alongside Jennifer M. Clarke who will be running in another B.C. byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
When asked about Bernier, Thompson spoke very highly of her party leader and said she was encouraged to run for the PPC by his opposition to political correctness.
“There’s no one else like him. He is the one who literally declared political correctness dead in Canada. And that was the tweet that really let me know that there was something different about him,” said Thompson.
“When I read that tweet I actually felt an electrical charge go up my back as if something was spoken over Canada as if Canadians have been waiting for somebody to speak. They’ve been waiting for somebody to say that we are not going to live in fear of ideologies being set up in the nation, of political correctness ruling the day.”
Anti-SOGI activism and moving onto federal politics
Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson was known to most people as an ardent anti-SOGI activist. SOGI is the sexual orientation and gender identity curriculum being adopted by British Columbia schools.
While most of the mainstream coverage focused around her views regarding gender ideology, it’s important to note that education curriculum is a provincial matter.
“That’s a provincial matter and I am now going onto federal politics so my focus has been shifted. I have already been labelled with some media outlets as being anti trans agenda and I actually support freedom, I love Canada,” she said on the issue.
“With that issue taking a back seat in my life, I’m onward and upward to the federal issues.”
In a recent interview PPC Leader Maxime Bernier said that “She has the right of her own religious beliefs and that’s OK, we’re in a free country.” He also made sure to mention that social issues won’t be a part of the PPC party platform.
“I’m pretty excited about the platform, I really believe that it will be supportive to a great economy. I think that the corporate tax cuts that Maxime Bernier is proposing and the way that he would like to lower taxes for all Canadian families,” said Thompson.
Beleaguered history with the Conservative Party of Canada
Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson has sought the nomination of the CPC in the past to no avail.
Currently the CPC is running candidate Jay Shin for the Burnaby South riding.
“I was in the meeting with Jay Shin who is now running for the CPC in Burnaby South. But once again it was the higher ups who rejected me and so I now have several of the EDA members from Burnaby south CPC that are now serving with me for the PPC and that says a lot,” she said about her latest run in with the CPC.
“This has been a tough year to actually come to the understanding that the CPC does not have courage, is not in touch with the grassroots people of this nation.”
Thompson seemed to echo some of Bernier’s own reasons for why he had left the CPC but from a particularly social conservative perspective.
CPC has abandoned social conservatives
Despite the PPC’s refusal to make a stand on social issues, Thompson represents herself as a voice for the social conservative faction on the right.
“I began to hear all kinds of stories about other social conservatives being treated badly and being iced out of the conservative party nomination process. I believe that there’s corruption in the nomination process that now goes very deeply and it is becoming an alarming and much talked about in the background issue,” said Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson.
Social conservatives have become more vocal in Canada and many feel that the CPC is ignoring their views. Whether this will translate into an exodus from the Conservative Party and support for the PPC is yet to be seen.
“I think that we have to stand strong and that the silent majority in Canada needs to become emboldened to live out with dignity and with courage what their values and what their beliefs are,” said Thompson.
Throughout our interview it became clear that Thompson was willing and intending to use populist language to engage voters. It is likely that running against three “establishment” parties, Thompson’s strength will lie in painting herself as a political outsider who isn’t willing to play traditional political games.
“You see I’ve already been called an awful lot of names, I’ve been mischaracterized and spoken of in a very bad way, I’ve already been through that. I could not care less who calls me names,” she said about her recent run ins with the media.
“I can be a bit polarizing in some respects because I really believe in standing up for what we believe in and this is going to be important.”
The race to be MP is well underway
The Burnaby South byelection is turning out to be a contested race that will likely have national implications for federal politics.
Like all things in the political world nothing is certain and the country will have to wait until February to speak about any real and tangible results.
After our conversation it became clear to me that Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson is committed to PPC principles and the leadership of Maxime Bernier but it is still too soon to tell how committed voters will be to her brand of politics.