The Rhinoceros Party of Canada was started in 1968 by a group of Quebecois including Robert Charlebois and François Gourd. In the next two decades, the party became a well known and well liked part of Canadian politics. The party presented platforms and candidates for federal elections; at one point, Charlebois ran against Pierre Trudeau in his own riding. The Rhinoceros Party remained registered until the early 1990s.
The party's main campaign promise was to "promise nothing", but they ignored that. Their promises included:
- repeal the law of gravity,
- pave the province of Manitoba to create the world's largest parking lot,
- institute illiteracy as Canada's third official language,
- tear down the Rocky Mountains so that Albertans could see the Pacific sunset,
- build sloping bicycle paths across the country so that Canadians could "coast from coast to coast",
- breed a mosquito that would only hatch in January so that "the little buggers will freeze to death",
- turn Montreal's Rue Ste-Catherine into the world's longest bowling alley,
- paint Canada's coastal sea limits so that Canadian fish would know where they were at all times,
- count the Thousand Islands to make sure none are missing,
- impose an "import quota on lousy winters -- Canadians are sick of being God's frozen people. It's time to get back to the four basic seasons: salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar."
- include the word "fun" in Acts of Parliament, Acts of provinical legislatures, and Bylaws of municipalities, from which it was apparently conspicuously absent.
The Rhinoceros Party never elected a Member of Parliament, but they did come close. Not only were they the fourth-largest party in the nation for some time, they often placed second or third in individual ridings, putting New Democrat and Progressive Conservative candidates to shame.
They also attracted international attention. Alan Hope, a leading member of the UK's Monster Raving Loony Party, mentioned his brief association with the Rhino leader: "On one particular visit, I met the leader of the Rhinoceros Party, with whom we had formed an alliance. A white rhino, he resided in Santiago Zoo, and a very nice sort of rhino he was too. He used to get letters from all over the world. The reason a rhinoceros was chosen as leader was because it was considered the closest thing to a politician -- thick skinned, myopic, wallows in mud, and runs like hell when cornered."
In 1993, the Election Act imposed a mandatory $1000 fee and minimum of 50 running candidates for political parties to be officially recognised. The Rhinoceros Party boycotted the election in protest, and subsequently disbanded.
Members of the Rhinoceros Party remained politically active, however. Co-founder François Gourd went on to create Les Entartistes, a group that pied and continues to pie prominent Canadian politicians. (Their past targets include Jean Chretien and Ralph Klein.) Other Rhino members went on to found the Parti Citron, "defending your interests to the bitter end". And in 2002, a former leading member legally purchased a mail-in ballot in the Canadian Alliance leadership race... and then sold it on eBay as "an experiment in democratic capitalism".
Reports of a repeat Rhino performance as a political party in 2002 remain unconfirmed, but no matter. Political satire and humour are still alive and well in Canada, if not on the same national scale.
Current facetious parties in Canada are all unregistered. They include the Absolutely Absurd Party of Canada, Parti Citron, and the Party Party ("Now with 23.4% less corruption").
Timeshredder says The rhinos also once promised a supermailbox for every household.