Rhinoceros Party of Canada
The Rhinoceros Party of Canada
, also known as the Rhinos
, was a registered political party in Canada
from the 1960s to the 1990s. Operating within the Canadian tradition of political satire
, the Rhinoceros Party's basic credo was to "promise nothing", although in fact they often promised outlandishly impossible schemes designed to amuse and entertain the voting public.
The Rhinos were started in 1968 by a group of Quebec artists and other "creative anarchists", including Robert Charlebois a young and François Gourd, who shared a deep cynicism with the political process in Canada. This group put together a comedic political platform, and registered the Rhinoceros Party to contest ridings in the federal election. (Charlebois ran against Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in his Montreal seat.)
The party, which claimed to be the spiritual descendants of a Brazilian rhinoceros who had once been elected mayor of Sao Paulo, listed a rhinoceros from a Canadian zoo as its leader.
Platform promises released by the Rhinoceros Party included:
- repealing the law of gravity,
- paving the province of Manitoba to create the world's largest parking lot,
- instituting illiteracy as Canada's third official language,
- tearing down the Rocky Mountains so that Albertans could see the Pacific sunset,
- building sloping bicycle paths across the country so that Canadians could "coast from coast to coast",
- breeding a mosquito that would only hatch in January so that "the little buggers will freeze to death",
- turning Montreal's rue Ste-Catherine into the world's longest bowling alley,
- painting Canada's coastal sea limits so that Canadian fish would know where they were at all times,
- banning lousy Canadian winters.
Despite the obvious appeal of banning winter, the Rhinoceros Party never succeeded in electing Members of Parliament
, but they were often Canada's fourth-largest political party in number of total votes received. They would sometimes come in second place in certain ridings, humiliating traditional Canadian parties in the process. In one election for instance, the Rhinoceros party candidate, a professional lady clown
called Chatouille (which means tickle, in French) got more votes than André Payette, a popular broadcaster who was then running for the Conservative Party of Canada
The party disbanded in 1993, when they chose to boycott that year's election due to new rules that deregistered any political party that did not run candidates in at least 50 ridings.
François Gourd went on to start a new political movement, the entartistes, who attracted attention in the 1990s by planting cream pies in the faces of various Canadian politicians.