Anything but extinct: Rhinoceros Party back for 2015 federal election
Members of the Rhinoceros party explain their campaign platforms in Montreal on Aug. 17, 2015.
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, August 23, 2015 10:15AM EDT
The Rhinoceros Party of Canada is back with a major policy plank -- a promise to nationalize Tim Hortons.
The absurd nature of the announcement was probably unsurprising to fans of the party, which has been adding humour to Canadian politics since the 1960s. At one point, the Rhinos' pledge was "a promise to keep none of our promises."
As their federal campaign gets underway, here are five things to know about Canada's most famous satirical political party:
They may be considered a joke, but the Rhinoceros Party has some serious roots in Canada, having put candidates on the ballot in various elections since the 1960s.
The party apparently expects to be in the political sphere for a whole lot longer: on their website, they promise to commit to a 100-year plan "for the future of Canada."
In 1980, the Rhinos hit their political stride, with 120 candidates nationwide and a total of 110,000 votes.
Some of their past election promises include renaming the country "Nantucket," abolishing the law of gravity and uniting Quebec with Cuba to form a new country called Cubec.
In a 2011 interview with CTV Montreal, eight-time Rhino candidate Francois Gourd admitted the Rhinos don't take themselves too seriously.
"We are a Marxist-Lennonist party you see here," Gourd said. "From Groucho Marx to John Lennon."
However, Gould also acknowledged that the party aimed to keep politics fun and relevant, by encouraging more people to get out and vote.
Probably the most high profile former Rhinoceros Party candidate is Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, who ran for the party in the Quebec riding of Charlevoix in the 1980 federal election. Laliberte brought a Rhino badge with him when he went into space in 2009.
Today, Sebastien "CoRhino" Corriveau of Limoilou, Que., is leading the party. While Corriveau is active on social media, Canadians from coast to coast are expected to get to know him a little bit better when the party conducts a cross-country tour in October.
Corriveau told The Province that he has candidates running in all provinces but Prince Edward Island because he doesn't "know anybody" there.
State-run Tim Hortons, Senate lottery
Among their more ambitious promises for 2015 is a pledge to nationalize Tim Hortons, Canada's ubiquitous coffee shop chain.
Announcing the pledge in Montreal last week, Corriveau said that the "best way to improve and defend Canadian values and the Canadian dream" is to nationalize the coffee chain.
"We'll look at the results after five years, after 10 years, after 50 years and with the results of these studies we'll be able to determine if other economic sectors should also be nationalized and be privatized."
If elected, the party is also vowing to launch Loto Senate, a lottery game where Canadians can win seats in the Senate.
Capital with a K
If elected, the Rhinos are also vowing to move Canada's capital from Ottawa to Kapuskasing, Ont. Their logic? Geography.
"We find that it's better-placed strategically in the centre of Canada," Montreal candidate Ben 97 Benoit said. "It's in the middle of Canada -- it's the centre of the Earth."
Corriveau has been touting some of his candidates online, including Donovan Eckstrom, who is running in Edmonton-Strathcona.
In July, Eckstrom put out a spoof campaign launch video. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59y_DYbXAeg> On his website, Eckstrom has promised to build a tower "higher and farther" than any tower, saying by 2019, "it will be taller than the CN Tower."
He also pledged to get members of the Royal Family to "stop by" Alberta.
"With regards to Alberta's Oil Royalty Review, I feel that the federal government has a duty to aid in the review so I promise to get Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Queen of England to stop by Alberta and be reviewed quite promptly and efficiently," Eckstrom said.
Corriveau put out a public recruitment call to Eve Adams, who lost a Liberal nomination contest just months after crossing the floor from the Conservatives.
The Rhino Party is offering her the "riding of her choice," a statement on their website said.
"We think that after running for the Conservatives and the Liberals, the only possible next step in Canadian politics is to run for the Rhinoceros Party of Canada."
With files from CTV Montreal and The Canadian Press