The Rhinoceros Party is back

James Wray, or Rhino Jim, is collecting signatures so he can run for the Rhinoceros Party in Windsor-Tecumseh. (Photo courtesy of James Wray)

The party for which every issue is its number one priority, and once promised to repeal the law of gravity, hopes to run a candidate in Windsor-Tecumseh.

But first, James Wray, or “Rhino Jim,” needs signatures.

He will be at the Kildare House Thursday night starting at 7 p.m., and the Thompson House, further down Wyandotte Street East, at the same time Friday.

“I figure that way, I won’t be interrupting anybody while they’re eating dinner,” said Wray. “Just catch people while they’re grabbing a pint.”

On Saturday, he plans to hit up the crowd at the Downtown Farmers’ Market.

The would-be politico volunteered at CJAM and counted himself a member of the Windsor Peace Coalition, returned to his hometown at the beginning of the pandemic.

Wray finds himself on the campaign trail against one of his old mentors’ daughter-in-law, Laura Chesnik, who is running under the Marxist-Leninist banner in Windsor-Tecumseh. Margaret Villamizar, whom he credits with helping him discover politics, is running in Windsor-West.

It was at the University of Windsor where he came to appreciate the political fringe. While living out west, he got involved with the Rhinoceros Party. Time spent in Toronto gave him perspective on the more serious issues facing Canadians including, housing affordability.

“I spent a lot of years living in Toronto, you know, I worked two full-time jobs the entire time, just to afford crappy apartments. We’re at that point in Windsor,” he said.

It’s a campaign taking place in unusual times, and Wray doesn’t deny it. Unlike most political parties, the Rhinos have yet to take a stand on mandatory vaccinations, but he has.

“We’ve always been about shots,” he quipped. “We love shots. If ever you see us in the bar, feel free to have a shot with us.”

While Rhinos of the past were only interested in introducing brevity to a political system that sometimes took itself too seriously, Wray plans to use satire to spur debate about issues that may be forgotten.

“In my case, I’m taking it a little more seriously and using satire more like how Mary Poppins said a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” Wray said, explaining how he hopes to be more than just the class clown in the campaign. “Just trying to shed a little brevity into that and hopefully get some people laughing and thinking.”

Among those, Wray hopes to force local federal party candidates to address issues like Windsor’s transit system, accessibility to healthcare and especially mental healthcare, the state of our infrastructure, and diversifying the local economy.

Under no illusion he could win the popular vote in Windsor-Tecumseh, Wray still offers this unbreakable pledge to those who vote for him.

“We’re the party that promises to break every promise.”