LAC LA BICHE - He came in a distant second in the Sept. 19 federal election for the Fort McMurray-Cold Lake riding. Additionally, the national results of the party he ran for garnered less than five per cent of the overall vote, and they didn't place any elected members into Parliament — but that isn't stopping Shawn McDonald from finding positives in his recent foray into federal politics with the People's Party of Canada. In fact, the experience has him wanting to do it again.
"I feel good about it, I really do," says McDonald, a Lac La Biche Métis family man and small business owner.
McDonald garnered about 12 per cent — 5,500 votes — of the 43,000 ballots cast in the riding, a runner-up to newly elected area MP Laila Goodridge who took in 29,000 votes or 67 per cent of the riding's votes.
The same numbers that lost him the race, also show much the party he ran for has advanced, and how much further they can go.
"We almost quadrupled the results from the previous election," McDonald told Lakeland This Week referring to the 2019 federal election that saw the previous PPC candidate get just 1700 votes, finishing in fourth place behind the NDP candidate, the Liberal candidate and former MP David Yurdiga, who won with 41,000 votes and a massive 80 per cent of the popular vote.
"I really think this time around, we really made a statement," McDonald said, explaining that his campaign not only found more votes, it took more away from the established voting trend. "I'd say we have definitely planted that seed."
McDonald plans to watch that seed grow, announcing that he plans to remain the riding's PPC candidate, waving the party's purple flag until the next federal election. When that election will be, he doesn't know, but he does know that the PPC campaign will continue to grow over time.
"This is a revolution, and revolutions do not happen overnight," he said blaming a short campaign period in the recent election for reducing what could have bene better results. "The message got out too late. We only had three weeks to get it out there."
So now, even years away from the next election, McDonald plans to continue with the campaigning, and continue with getting the PPC message to as many people as he can.
"I'm going to just keep campaigning, even though there's no election, and just get the message out there," he said.
The People's Party of Canada was created in 2018 by former Quebec Conservative MP Maxime Bernier. The four-time elected Tory became and independent MP in 2017 before creating the party and basing its platform on maintaining Constitutional freedoms for all Canadians. Bernier did not win his seat in the last election, losing to the Conservative Party's Richard Lehoux.
Across Canada, the increased vote for PPC candidates may have come at the cost of some Conservative Party candidates, resulting in the Liberal Party winning in some ridings.