A look at Hamilton’s only Rhino Party candidates

Published October 16, 2019 at 2:12 am

Hamilton has a number of candidates contesting its five ridings for the October 21 election. You may have seen them canvassing the various communities across the city. 

Hamilton has a number of candidates contesting its five ridings for the October 21 election. You may have seen them canvassing the various communities across the city. 

Most voters have heard about the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Greens and even the People’s Party about what they want to do if they get elected. But there is one party that has two candidates in Hamilton that you may not know much about: the Rhino Party.

Richard Plett is the Rhino candidate for Hamilton Mountain and Spencer Rocchi is running for the Rhinos in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas. Plett, a former Amazon employee, currently works full time as a rideshare driver while Rocchi works as a contract teacher.

Created in 1963 by Quebec cartoonists, the Rhino Party goes by the premise that the only promise the party would keep would be to break all their promises. For the 2019 election, some of their rather comical promises include:

  • Installing brake pedals on the passenger side of all cars to promote carpooling as a green initiative.

  • Force car manufacturers to build more green cars: forest green, pale green, khaki green and neon green.

  • Fill the coffers of the state by allowing advertising in the Senate and the House of Commons.

  • Reduce the number of accidents in factories by wrapping all workers in bubble wrap.

  • Create a more egalitarian Canada by redrawing all provinces into rectangles like Saskatchewan.

Here’s the Rhino Party leader, Sébastien CoRhino, stopping by Hamilton in front of “one of the original Tim Hortons”, promising to make Timmies “the national church” for Canadians.

Obviously, the Rhinos don’t really expect to elect anyone to Ottawa but that hasn’t stopped Plett and Rocchi from expressing very frank observations about politics in Canada and providing answers to hard questions. 

Rocchi, who previously ran for the Green Party in Nunavut, realized while running that there were very few that cared for the environment and that carbon taxes weren’t really going to offset the greed of other countries.

“The ridiculous TV and internet ads where the politicians slam each other, the fact that being a politician is the only job where you can lie in your job interview and still have a career, or that people even look to politicians at all to solve problems in their communities, is all a joke. People should be infuriated that the first-past-the-post voting scam will never be reformed, but here we are again, doing this whole song and dance,” Rocchi said in an email to inthehammer.com.“Then there’s the problem of people only voting for who they’re told to vote for by the general media. There’s no way elections can matter until people start voting small and start to cut out these criminals who just end up supporting the interests of the wealthy elite via their lobbyists. That way we can reform the system from within, at the grassroots level. This whole political process is a farce and it ultimately makes voting meaningless.”

“Consider us a fun way to laugh at the joke and get in on it (by voting Rhino of course). Think of us as the more humorous option to “None of the Above” on the ballot.”

According to Plett, the party apparently gives a lot of leeway for candidates to run their campaigns as they see fit and do not even have to agree with the party platform. As such, Plett provided some serious responses to a City of Hamilton questionnaire on issues such as federal-municipal relations, funding tools, transit funding, affordable housing and disaster mitigation / adaptation support.Richard Plett with Rhino Party leader (aka Supreme Dealer) Sébastien CoRhino

Some of what Plett said in his letter to Hamilton city council:

“I will be tasking myself if actually elected and that is very remote; with following through on what I learn from residents of Hamilton Mountain as well as the rest of Hamilton and Canada as well, that really is what an elected Member of Parliament should be doing anyways.

“I will be spending my time searching and seeking funding for Hamilton projects and I will need your help in doing so. I will be relying on Hamilton Mountain residents as well as Hamilton City Council. I am very serious with the political system we currently have at the federal level nothing is really long term and predictable, we just have to work together the best we can to accomplish what common goals we can to try and make things better for the people we represent.

“Public transportation is the one issue that has surprised me the most in speaking with residents of Hamilton Mountain. I actually did not realize it was that much of an issue until I started listening to people. I have more listening to do in that regard and I will have to leave this issue very open at present. I will follow the direction of the residents of Hamilton Mountain.”

It’s an interesting approach; rather than responding with his solutions to the issues the city raised, Plett is basically saying he doesn’t have all the answers and would seek to educate himself and listen to the constituents in Hamilton Mountain. Plett said he once ran as an Independent before so that would explain his mindset.

However, in keeping with some Rhino Party traditions, he said “just for fun, I think the first year I think we should let voters have a day to throw soft tomatoes at us.”

Doing that may be one of the most popular things that could really get voters behind him…or perhaps not.

What do you think of this candid and refreshing approach to the election?

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