Maxime Bernier, the leader of the PPC and a federal candidate in the Canadian election, will be facing some stiff competition in his hometown riding of Beauce, Quebec. His newest opponent? Maxime Bernier of the Rhinoceros Party. No, this is not a joke. There will seriously be two Maxime Berniers running in the same Quebec riding.
The other Maxime Bernier has been put forth as a candidate for the Rhinoceros Party, a satirical Canadian political party that has run candidates in every election since 1964. According to their platform, they are promising to open tax havens in every province, use photos of famous scientists to replace teachers who are on leave, and give everyone in Canada a job (sometimes even two).
Some people might think that this is just a publicity stunt or that it's purely a joke. This is not the case. Bernier (the Rhino Party one) is legitimately allowed to run. Nick Gamache, an Elections Canada spokesperson, told CTV News that the candidate is not breaking any rules simply by having the same name as someone else.
The Rhino Party's Maxime Bernier is also taking his run seriously, telling CBC, "They asked me at the beginning if I could be just a name, and I refused that. If I'm doing to do it, I do it all, or I'm not doing it at all." He said that he has constantly had to hear about Maxime Bernier (the PPC one) whenever people said his name.
The Rhino Party's Bernier also told CBC that he thinks the other Maxime Bernier's thinking is "from another century." He also said, "Maxime Bernier thinks it's a bigger concern to fight with a little 16-year-old girl… and tell everybody that [climate change] is not happening," making reference to Bernier's Twitter attacks on climate change activist, Greta Thunberg.
Sébastien CoRhino, the Rhino Party leader (or 'dealer,' as he is designated by the party), told Huffington Post Canada, "We think it’s possible that Maxime Bernier himself will get it wrong, and vote for his adversary." Bernier (again, the Rhino one) will need to get 100 signatures from eligible electors to appear on the ballot.
Despite the confusion that this campaign may cause, the Rhino Party has a solid solution for anyone confused by the ballot, originally written in an official French-language press release: "Take a chance, vote for both!"