Satinder Dhillon of Abbotsford has filed a lawsuit alleging Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada has infringed on his trademark and copyright of the same name. (Facebook photo)

B.C. man’s lawsuit claiming rights to People’s Party name heading to court

Satinder Dhillon claims rights to People’s Party, now used by former Conservative renegade Maxime Bernier

An Abbotsford man’s lawsuit against Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada, seeking to claim rights to the name of the party, is heading to the Federal Court of Canada tomorrow.

Satinder Singh Dhillon launched his lawsuit against Bernier and the PPC in February, basing his claim on a copyright and trademark of the name “People’s Party of Canada,” as well as his use of the name in a Times of Canada magazine article in July 2015.

“The PPC (People’s Party of Canada) is not about politics, it is much more than that. It is a movement to inform the citizens about what is really going on in this country,” Dhillon is quoted as saying in the article.

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Dhillon’s lawyer, Dean Davison of Davison Law Group in Vancouver, told The News in February that in 2015, Dhillon “gained some rights just by the usage.”

“We look forward to arguing a strong case asking the courts for an injunction against Mr. Bernier’s party using the name People’s Party of Canada based on the facts,” Davison said in a statement Wednesday. “The other party’s continued use of the name that rightfully belongs to my client is causing ongoing harm that needs to be remedied.”

Dhillon’s co-plaintiff, Emmet Pierce, filed suit in Vancouver, requesting the hearing be held in that city, but the Federal Court has ordered the case be heard in Montreal, with a date set for Thursday, according to a news release.

Dhillon hopes to gain an injunction against Bernier’s party using the name in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection set for May 6 and the upcoming federal election.

“The other party’s dangerously populist views are offensive to real Canadian values, and their continued use of the party’s name is causing us irreparable harm,” Dhillon said in a news release. “We are hoping the court will recognize that Elections Canada got this one wrong and will return the party’s name to its rightful owner before the May 6 byelection.”

At the time Dhillon launched the suit, Bernier’s PPC was participating in the Burnaby byelection, and had sought unsuccessfully to get a hearing ahead of that vote.

Dhillon’s trademark application, according to the federal government’s online registry, came on Sept. 14, 2018, the same day Bernier announced his new party.

“He said to Elections Canada … ‘What could I do to protect my name?’ They said, ‘Go and get a copyright and a trademark.’ So he did,” Davison said.

Dhillon claims he filed his application to form the People’s Party of Canada with Elections Canada before Bernier’s party did, but was unable to mail the 250 supporter signatures required to officially form a party before Bernier. Dhillon claims the federal elections regulator failed to consider a mail strike at the time.

“Whether we win or lose this court hearing, our party will be running candidates in the October federal election that will truly represent the people of Canada. Our party is based on our core values of economic fairness, free speech, anti-corruption, equal rights, and justice,” Dhillon said. “We will stand against politics as usual, racism, and discrimination in all its forms.”

In an email statement in February, Martin Masse, spokesperson for Bernier’s party, said the party is “confident that our party was registered in accordance with the rules and that these lawsuits have no legal basis.”

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