Balfour backs Bernier, runs for PPC
By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 17, 2019
Gene Balfour says his decision to run for the People’s Party of Canada in October’s federal election has a lot to do with the party’s leader, former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier.
Balfour’s name may be familiar, as he ran in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock for the Ontario Libertarian Party during the 2018 provincial election. This will actually be Balfour’s seventh run in the political realm, having run as a Libertarian candidate five times and the provincial and once previously at the federal level in 2015.
“I was fully planning to run for the Libertarian Party of Canada,” he says.
However, Balfour was in attendance at a Libertarian conference, “and the night before the conference kicked off, I met Maxime Bernier.”
“It seemed to me that Maxime Bernier was very much like me,” Balfour says. “He was a Libertarian conservative.”
Bernier lost the bid for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership to Andrew Scheer in 2017, and quit the party in August of 2018, vowing to start his own party. Saying he would run a candidate in all of the country’s 338 ridings in the federal election, as of last week, the PPC was close to that goal.
“I’ve never seen a leader like this in my life,” Balfour says. “Here’s a man who goes from zero and he’s got 320 candidates registered. Who does that?”
Balfour is a retired professional recruiter who worked in the IT industry and resides in Fenelon Falls. He promotes libertarian philosophies such as personal freedoms, fewer regulations, less taxation and smaller government.
When asked what some of the biggest issues of this election are, Balfour says that while knocking on people’s doors, “the first thing they’re going to ask you about it is immigration. They feel the Liberals, they’re looking after other people, they’re not looking after Canadians.”
“We can’t help our veterans,” Balfour says, adding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to have money to give other nations for climate change initiatives. “There’s a lot of anger out there against Justin.”
On climate change, Balfour is opposed to any form of carbon pricing or carbon taxation. He says there are essentially two things any government can do. The first is pass legislation.
“The other thing they can do is spend money,” he says. “They can throw money at the cause.”
Balfour says the issue of climate change is too complex and far-reaching to be solved in this manner.
When asked about incumbent Conservative MP Jamie Schmale, “he and I are on the same page on a lot of different things,” Balfour says, referencing his conservative leanings.
However, Balfour points to leaders of the two parties.
“Maxime Bernier is much more experienced [than Scheer],” he says.
In terms of himself, “I have a background in economics,” Balfour says. “All politicians must, in my view, look through the lens of economics.”
Joining Balfour in challenging Schmale are Liberal party candidate Judi Forbes, NDP candidate Barbara Doyle and Green Party candidate Elizabeth Fraser.