Maxime Bernier says People's Party set up in all 338 ridings ahead of 2019 election
Maxime Bernier during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday Aug. 23, 2018. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 23, 2018 6:05PM EST
OTTAWA - The People's Party of Canada says it has reached its goal of setting up 338 riding associations as it sets its sights on being a competitive force in the upcoming federal election.
In an email to supporters, leader Maxime Bernier says the move amounts to a "gift of hope" for Canadians seeking to bring back freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect to the country.
Bernier was a Conservative MP for more than a decade before he announced in August he was leaving the fold to launch his own party.
The party's platform is still being finalized, but its website says positions taken by Bernier in the Conservative leadership race -- such as a pitch to phase out supply management for the dairy sector -- will form the basis for its policies.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer defeated Bernier for the federal Tory leadership by a slim margin in May 2017.
Bernier has accused the Tories of abandoning conservatives, adding the party has "nothing of substance" to offer Canadians seeking a political alternative.