On Monday, the people of Canada turned up in droves at voting stations across the country to choose who will rule them for the next several years. Though it was a tight race for several hours, Justin Trudeau eventually won a second term. Deservedly missing the news, however, was the Libertarian Party of Canada. Earning a paltry 8,281 votes, the Libertarians received less than a fourth of the support they received four years ago. It gets worse, though: the satirical Parti Rhinoceros Party ranked just above the Libertarians.
The Rhinoceros Party
Simply put, the Rhinos are hilarious. They get it. In a world of false promises and joke candidates who can’t admit it, the Rhinoceros Party brings transparency and humor front and center. And, apparently, it resonates with the people more than the Libertarian one does. Previously named neorhino.ca, after the Matrix trilogy’s Neo, the Rhinos make a mockery of the very nature of politics.
This year, the Rhinos pulled together 9,408 votes, many of which came from Quebec. On the contrary, the Libertarian Party was lucky to pull 0.1% in Ontario; they did not meet the mark in any other province or territory.
On a theoretical level, the underlying ideas of these two parties should be pretty similar. Both reject what the government has been doing. Both think that the system is a joke, and neither can trust a politician with much of anything. The critical difference between the two, though, comes with the presentation of ideas.
Bureaucracy or Comedy?
We’re all-too-familiar with the Libertarian Party of the United States’ awkward moments. The Canadian counterpart, though, makes them look impeccable by comparison. Their candidate for prime minister, Tim Moen, is a talented renaissance man, but his social media presence is lacking, to say the least. Did 8,000 people even see his name before the election? If anyone remembers him in a decade, it won’t be for his politics.
The national party’s presence is even more abysmal. Their last tweet, nearly a month ago, was an awkwardly professional admission that they couldn’t scrape together one candidate in an Ontario district with more than 100,000 residents.
— Libertarian Party (@LibertarianCDN) September 27, 2019
The embarrassment doesn’t stop at social media; the official webpage leaves much to be desired. On the front page, an uncaptioned picture of Moen scrolls beside a grainy quote and the ever-hip #WeAreLiberty. If this is the best that Liberty has to offer, big government isn’t going anywhere for Canadians.
Looking at the platform and confusing bylaws, the majority of points don’t stand out much. Though the party clearly attempts a serious tone and wants recognition as a political force, they should probably first make sure that they use proper punctuation on formal pages. Dull, uninspiring, and amateurish, the Libertarian Party of Canada was lucky to perform as well as they did this October. They can’t play the part of another political cog and that of a unique new voice at the same time.
The Libertarian Party did not immediately respond for comment in regards to their poor finishing.
On the other hand, the Rhinos are a comedic rising star in a world crying out for a breath of sanity. In a brilliant move of strategy, they ran a man named Maxime Bernier against the real Maxime Bernier of the People’s Party, taking advantage of voters who couldn’t decide between voting Bernier and Rhino.
Promising to break all of their promises, they alone offer the brutal comedic honesty that so accurately describes the state of political affairs. Promises include the production of greener cars (neon, khaki, forest, and pale) and requiring all newborn children to have 12 digits and a special character in their name for security reasons.
The Libertarians in Canada could stand to learn a few lessons from their Rhinoceros Party counterparts. We all know that neither party is going to hold any serious offices in the near future because politics is not the realm for legitimate anti-government protest.
With a few keystrokes, Cody Wilson did more for liberty than the Canadian Libertarian Party ever will. If the party really wanted to make a difference, they would stop creating bylaws and regulations, stop becoming the very bureaucracy they claim to oppose, stop believing in the system that causes so much harm. They can’t be truly, radically anti-government while accepting the political landscape the State imposes.
If they focused their efforts on proactively eliminating the demand for a strong government, rather than passively rebuking it after the fact, they would have much more success. Find something the State does and do it better, without stealing from people for revenue. It’s not that hard; governments are notoriously and inherently inefficient. Start an underground market. Educate others on the harms of war. Create a competitor to the post office or the police or the unemployment office.
Conversely, all the Rhinoceros Party asks for is a few laughs, and boy, do they get them. But there’s an added effect, too, whether the party knows it or not. Each vote for them is a cynically hilarious middle finger pointed straight at Ottawa, another citizen proclaiming that he doesn’t want to play the game anymore. With an endless supply of tricks up their sleeve, they alone occupy the role of a truly anti-government party.