Politics
Yellowknife

No Rhino: Mel Leonard misses deadline with joke party plan


A Yellowknife man who hoped to represent the Rhino Party in this month's federal election has missed the deadline to file his paperwork.

Mel Leonard had faced a race against time to collect enough signatures before a 2pm deadline on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, he told Cabin Radio he had been unable to secure an official agent and "started way too late" to overcome what he called the "red tape" required to run in a federal election.

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"But I predict a minority government and another election sooner rather than later, so I'll be back," he said.

On the weekend, while gathering signatures supporting his nomination at Yellowknife's Javaroma coffee house, Leonard had announced a platform which included the right for dogs to vote, "with the exception of labradoodles – those guys can't be trusted."

The Rhinoceros Party exists as a form of comedic protest party, going through various iterations since its first appearance in 1963.

Candidates are known for running campaigns featuring unlikely solutions to the issues of the day. In 1980, a Rhino Party candidate in Ontario vowed to tow Antarctica north to the Arctic: "Once we have Antarctica, we'll control all of the world's cold. If another Cold War starts, we'll be unbeatable," he said.

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Leonard, whose bid was first reported by Radio Taiga, had felt the Rhino Party's presence was now urgently necessary in the NWT.

"People take politics way too seriously. I've seen friendships end over partisan politics. It's important, it's absolutely important, but it is also not so serious that you should hate people over their willingness to vote for someone that you do not agree with," he told Cabin Radio on Saturday.

"People are dissatisfied with their choices and I think this is a great alternative to spoiling your vote."

Leonard would have been the sixth candidate on the ballot. The five who filed on time are Liberal incumbent Michael McLeod, the Conservatives' Yanik D'Aigle, the New Democrats' Mary Beckett, Paul Falvo for the Green Party, and People's Party candidate Luke Quinlan.

Alongside canine voting, Leonard said his party would take immediate steps to address the stagnating population of the Northwest Territories.

"I propose to radically increase our population by making Highway 3 a one-way street from Fort Providence to Yellowknife," he said.

He also pledged to "remove the alienation of houseboaters by moving the entire capital to the lake," though he added: "My main election promise is to not keep any of my promises."

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