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The Very Real Rhinoceros Political Party Of Canada

Culture | September 22, 2019

What if Canada was Ruled By The Rhinoceros Party of Canada (neorhino.ca/)

The satirical political group known as the Rhinoceros Party formed in Canada in 1963 and has been making mischief ever since, advocating bizarre policies and promising, if elected, to keep none of their promises.

The Rhinoceros Party claimed to be descendants of Cacareco, a rhino who received 100,000 votes for São Paulo city council in 1958. The party also elected Cornelius the First, a rhinoceros in a small zoo east of Montreal, as their leader. If you're wondering just what kind of Canadians would start such a political party and keep it going for decades (with no electoral success), the answer is: French Canadians. Mais oui, the Parti Rhinoceros and all its jokey adventures were dreamed up by pranksters of the Quebecois persuasion.

The Inauguration

Canadian writer Jacques Ferron and Founder of the Rhino Party (ici.radio-canada.ca)

The Rhinoceros Party was founded by Canadian writer Jacques Ferron. Of course, he promptly garnered the title “Éminence de la Grande Corne du parti Rhinocéros,” which translates to Eminence of the Great Horn of the Rhinoceros Party. Quickly other artists like poet Gaston Miron and singer Michel Rivard flocked to the party. They even ran in multiple elections against Pierre Trudeau, father of current prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

A Rhino?

The Actual Rhino Party Logo (macleans.ca)

Naturally, many questions come to mind, like, why a rhinoceros? Well, according to the party, it’s because “All politicians are thick-skinned, slow-moving, dim-witted, can move fast as hell when in danger, and have large, hairy horns growing out of the middle of their faces”. So there. 

Lofty Ambitions

Straight From The Pages of Partyrhino.ca/en/

Obviously, a party named after such a majestic creature only aspires to the highest ideals. During their election campaign in 1979, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada promised to move the seat of the Queen to Buckingham, suggested lottery winners earn Canadian Senate seats in lieu of money, and pledged to relocate Great Britain to Canada, making it the eleventh province. The Rhino Party members clearly only wanted the best for their beloved country.

Ahead of Their Time

Working For a Better Tomorrow (partyrhino.ca/en/)

Other proposals by the Rhino party included a promise to build nuclear power plants in every household, provide monthly deliveries of lead underwear, and of course, provide lighting from radioactive citizens from said underwear. The party was also extremely liberal toward the rights of men. According to their charter men would be “allowed to work as prostitutes, wet nurses, secretaries, and receptionists.” None left behind indeed.

The Best Ideas

Quebec rock legend Robert Charlebois, photographed in Montreal in 2013, Once a Candidate of The Rhinoceros Party of Canada, MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER / MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER

The Rhinoceros Party came up with so many original ideas, it’s hard not to tip your cap. One of their best and brightest, Ted “not too” Sharp recommended towing Antarctica to the Arctic Circle. His rationale: “Once we have Antarctica, we’ll control all of the world’s cold. If another Cold War starts, we’ll be unbeatable.” Some other gems of the party:

• Improving higher education by building taller schools.

• Dissolving the environment because it’s too difficult to keep clean and takes up too much space.

• Selling the Canadian Senate during a California antique auction.

• Turning the Trans-Canada Highway into a one-way highway.

• Converting Canadian currency to bubble gum, allowing it to be inflated or deflated at will. 

End Of An Era

Rhinoceros Party Leader Sébastien CoRhino, left, is seen with the party's candidate Maxime Bernier. (RHINOCEROS PARTY)

Unfortunately, in 1993 the original Rhinoceros Party fell apart when the requirements for political parties became more stringent. The rules stated that parties must “run candidates in at least 50 ridings at the cost of $1,000 per candidature.”

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Rhinoceros Party Leader Sebastien CoRhino Corriveau, right, and candidate Ben 97 Benoit talk with reporters Monday, August 17, 2015 in Montreal. The satirical political party promised to nationalize the popular Tim Hortons coffee shops if elected in the n

However, the Rhino lived to run another day. On May 21, 2006, the party was reinstituted and became eligible for elections the following year. The new founder’s name was François "Yo" Gourd and their current party leader is Sébastien Corriveau. Just like the first iteration of the Rhinoceros Party, the group “promises, like its predecessor, not to keep any of its promises if elected.”

Tags: Rhinoceros Party

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Kellar Ellsworth

Writer

Kellar Ellsworth was born and raised in Hawaii. He is an avid traveler, surfer and lover of NBA basketball. He wishes he could have grown up in the free love era!