New West Libertarian sees Bernier's People's Party as allies, not a threat

New Westminster-Burnaby’s Libertarian Party candidate says there are no existential questions for his party with a competing libertarian-leaning brand with broad coverage in the upcoming election.

Neeraj Murarka, New West's B.C. Libertarian Party candidate 2017 and B.C. director of the federal Libertarian Party, is replacing Rex Brocki in New West-Burnaby, with Brocki set to run up against NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Burnaby South under the Libertarian banner.

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Brocki tallied 2.6 per cent of the vote in New West-Burnaby in 2015, which Murarka admitted will be a challenge to meet, saying Brocki is more experienced in electoral politics.

His own name recognition won’t be the only challenge to the Libertarians in New West-Burnaby, though.

The People’s Party of Canada, run by former Conservative Party leadership contender Maxime Bernier, has received significant press coverage in the year since its September 2018 formation. That’s particularly true, given the PPC hasn’t even breached the five per cent mark in either CBC’s poll tracker or fellow poll aggregate 338Canada since the party’s creation.

That name recognition could steal what little sway the Libertarians wield. But although the Libertarians considered a merger with the PPC last year, Murarka said the party doesn’t have any question about where it stands with a competing libertarian brand in the mix.

Murarka called the People’s Party a more “practical” rendition of his own party. Where the PPC could conceivably snag a seat or two in October, Murarka sees his party as the more principled libertarian brand.

“They’re basically doing whatever is necessary to get into office,” Murarka said.

While he said the PPC concedes parts of a libertarian platform to get into office, Murarka says the party could push libertarian ideals into the mainstream.

“These are necessary evils in order to make change. … If they manage to disrupt things, just manage to get a seat, I would be, honestly, very happy,” Murarka said.

“I don’t see them as the enemy; I’m not going to vote for them because I’m running, myself. But I think that both of our parties are kind of on the same level.”

Murarka couldn’t name any particular PPC policies he saw as a concession from a libertarian platform, but said he does feel some “sour grapes” about Bernier skipping the Libertarian Party to form his own.

Murarka said his main issue this election is getting more voter involvement in the choices of government – more referendums and more decentralized control of Parliament.

“I want … the voters to get to make those decisions, whether it relates to taxes, foreign policy, foreign intervention, military, spending, welfare – all those things.”

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