- Freedom Party of Ontario
Freedom Party of Ontario
Active provincial party
Leader Paul McKeever President Robert Metz Founded 1984 Headquarters 240 Commissioner's Road West
Ideology Objectivism Official colours Black and White Website www.freedomparty.on.ca Politics of Ontario
The Freedom Party has fielded candidates in every provincial election since 1985, and in several by-elections. It has also participated in numerous public policy debates, often on contentious social issues.
The Freedom Party of Ontario is an affiliate of Freedom Party International, which was formed by some members of the Freedom Party of Ontario executive in 2002. Freedom Party promotes capitalism on the ground that it is the only social system compatible with reality, reason, rational self-interest, and consent. Freedom Party is opposed to attempts to promote capitalism with appeals to altruistic, irrational (e.g., faith, group consensus), or supernatural rationale. Freedom Party's policy direction is founded upon Objectivist philosophy. As such, the party rejects and condemns libertarianism. Freedom Party of Ontario's current leader, Paul McKeever, has written several explanations, and made several videos, explaining why Objectivism condemns and rejects libertarianism, and why he and Freedom Party of Ontario do so as well (see, for example, his article Reason and Freedom vs. The Liberty Summer Seminar. Instead of embracing the libertarian motto that "the government that governs least governs best", the Freedom Party asserts that "the purpose of government is to defend every individual's freedom, not to restrict it."
1980-1983: The Unparty
In 1980, some former members of the Ontario Libertarian Party (Lisa Butler, former OLP chair Mary Lou Gutscher, Bill McDonald and Paul Wakfer past-president of the Libertarian Party of Canada (LPC) who had spent many months of his time and considerable money to get the LPC registered by running 50 federal candidates, yet who was then summarily expelled from the LPC) all of whom left the current libertarian parties because of fundamental disagreements, founded the Unparty. A major reason for its founding was that all of the founders had become market anarchist by that time in their libertarian thinking, and decided that the only ethical political action was to seek to abolish the offices of the State. Therefore, the major thrust of the Unparty (and the reason for the name) was that any of its candidates that were elected would refuse to take their salary and would do nothing but vote against all legislation to expand or maintain the State.
The party was based in Toronto, and collected the required voter signatures to register the Unparty in Ontario and in Alberta, as well as qualify as a provincial party in New Brunswick. Successful public campaigns were run by Unparty members, attracting national news coverage. These included a protest against the census and a highly publicized defense of property rights with Unparty members attempting to prevent the government's forced demolition of a private home. (The official 'reason' for the government's actions was that the owner had not acquired a building permit for renovations made to his own property. According to the Unparty, this action, although apparently legal on the part of the government, was travesty of justice.)
Counter to most political parties, the Unparty was founded more like a partnership than a democracy, based on the premise that the members were customers who would continue their support so long as progress was being made, and that it was up to the leadership of the executive to provide that value, albeit with input from the members. This organizational structure, along with the official registration status of the Unparty in Ontario was what appealed to the leaders of the Unparty's London Constituency Associations, which had been, until that time, the most active and most visible of the Unparty groups outside of the head office itself.
So in 1983, after most of the Unparty executive had gone their separate ways, Robert Metz and Marc Emery of London, Ontario offered to take over control and management of the Unparty, with the promise that they would keep the Unparty going forever (a promise that Robert Metz has continued to keep to this day). Control of the organization was handed over to them with confidence based on their earlier success in organizing the Unparty in their electoral districts. Shortly after that, they refounded the party as the Freedom Party, gave it a new political agenda and a new head office in London, Ontario. On October 19, 1983, the party was renamed the Freedom Party of Ontario.
The FpO was best known during the 1980s for its campaigns against censorship and provincial laws that restricted Sunday shopping. Robert Metz, the party's first president, spoke for the FpO in 1987 when he argued that the Sunday shopping debate was fundamentally about freedom of choice for the retailer and consumer. Leading FpO members also opposed legal restrictions on pornography that depicts consensual sex between consenting adults, and opposed the prohibition of marijuana, arguing that the state did not have the right to legislate in such matters.
On economic issues, the FpO supported tax reductions and opposed provincial welfare programs. It was also critical of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and of affirmative action programs. Some prominent former members of Voice of Canadians, a now-defunct group that opposed official multiculturalism and official bilingualism, have affiliated with the FpO since the 1990s.
Metz became the first official leader of the party in 1987, and served until 1994 when he was replaced by Jack Plant. Plant stepped down in 1997, and was replaced by Lloyd Walker. All of the party's leaders between 1987 and 2002 were from London, and the party's activities were organized primarily from that city. The party newsletter, Freedom Flyer, was published on an occasional basis, and back copies are now available online.
The Freedom Party has opposed government restrictions on free speech and freedom of expression throughout its existence, arguing that the state has no right to intervene except in cases of fraud, defamation, or the commission of crimes such as sex with children. Marc Emery frequently challenged Canada's censorship laws during his years as an FpO organizer, via the private bookstore he operated in London. He continued to do so after resigning from FpO in 1990.
The FpO took a civil libertarian stance on hate speech and the rights of individuals to express political opinions, whether those opinions are rational or irrational, unoffensive or offensive, popular or unpopular. In 1999, the London, Ontario police wrote to Raphael Bergmann and Tyler Chilcott stating that they were members of an alleged group that the letter called the Northern Alliance. The letter stated that, as they belonged to an "extreme right-wing" group they were "required" to report to the police to explain their opinions. The FpO's then leader, Lloyd Walker requested that Solicitor-General David Tsubouchi provide a list of "extreme" political beliefs that could result in such police action. No response was provided by the government, and nothing more came of the matter. here. Bergmann and Chilcott were never FpO members and the party did not support their views, simply their right to express them.
The party has been partly restructured since 2002, when Oshawa lawyer Paul McKeever replaced Walker as party leader. McKeever argues that the FpO is now targeted toward building an electoral base and that a new organization, Freedom Party International, has taken on its prior advocacy role. FPI now publishes the former FpO journal, Consent.
The FpO promoted an electoral platform entitled "The Right Direction" for the 2003 election, arguing that with the PCs turning away from Mike Harris's Common Sense Revolution, the FpO was the only remaining party with "common sense".
On October 4, 2005, the Freedom Party released its 2007 election platform. It focused on competition in health care and education, repealing price controls on electricity, the replacement of property taxes with consumption taxes, and the elimination of the provincial income tax.
The FpO is affiliated with the Freedom Party of Canada, an unregistered political party which was founded by Paul McKeever and Robert Metz on July 20, 2001. It is also affiliated with Freedom Party International, which is not a political party but an organization founded to advocate and promote the party's philosophy, and to serve as the authority that must be consulted by any persons wishing to form an affiliated political party. FpO, FpC, FpUSA and FpI are not affiliated with the Freedom Party of British Columbia, the Freedom Party of Manitoba or any other parties styled as "Freedom Party".
Year of election # of candidates # of seats won # of votes % of popular vote 1985 3 0 1,583 0.04% 1987 9 0 4,735 0.13% 1990 10 0 6,015 0.15% 1995 11 0 4,532 0.11% 1999 14 0 4,806 0.11% 2003 24 0 8,376 0.19% 2007 15 0 3,003 0.07% 2011 56 0
Source: Elections Ontario Website
- March 31, 1988 provincial by-election - London North, 548 votes (1.7%), fifth of six candidates
- November 3, 1988 provincial by-election - Welland—Thorold, 260 votes (0.9%), fourth of five candidates
- April 1, 1993 provincial by-election - Don Mills, 161 votes (0.9%), seventh of eight candidates
- November 24, 2005 provincial by-election - Scarborough—Rouge River, 59 votes (0.4%), sixth of six candidates.
- March 31, 2006 provincial by-elections:
- September 14, 2006 provincial by-election - Parkdale—High Park, 111 votes (0.4%), seventh of eight candidates
- Robert Metz (1987–1994)
- Jack Plant (1994–1997)
- Lloyd Walker (1997–2002)
- Paul McKeever (2002-)
(Note: The party did not have an official leader from 1984 to 1987. Robert Metz was its president during this period. Lloyd Walker was initially chosen as leader on an interim basis.)
- List of Ontario general elections
- List of Ontario political parties
- List of libertarian political parties
- Freedom Party candidates, 2003 Ontario provincial election
- ^ About Freedom Party of Ontario's Slogan (here)
- ^ Annual report of the chief election officer of ontario for the year 2006 ()
- ^ William Walker, "'Intolerance' blamed for Sunday law", Toronto Star, 26 February 1987, A4.
- ^ David Helwig, "Garbage means votes, political party decides", Globe and Mail, 8 May 1987, N13 and Salem Alaton, "Canada Customs officials ship U.S. drug magazine back south", Globe and Mail, 1 November 1988.
- ^ William Frampton, "GST makes us bigger slaves", Toronto Star, 21 March 1991, E4 and Diane Francis, "Cutting costs with Dutch clocks, sunset clauses", Financial Post, 29 September 1994, p. 15.
- ^ Timothy Bloedow, "Human rights commission likened to Gestapo", Ottawa Times, December 1995 (referenced here) and Burt Dowsett, "Equity policy "racist, sexist," trustee says", London Free Press, 17 May 1995 (here)
- ^ One of the VoC members to join the FpO was group chair Dick Field. The FpO endorsed the VoC's "Mark Me Canadian" drive in the 1996 national census. "'Mark me Canadian', says Voice of Canadians Committees", Freedom Flyer, March 1996.
- ^ See also Paul Gallant, "Just because they're crazy doesn't mean they're powerless", Xtra!, 29 June 2000.
- ^ The document is available online here.
- ^ The document is available online here.
- ^ Elections Ontario
- Freedom Party of Ontario official site
Provincial political parties in Ontario Legislative Assembly Other parties recognized by Elections Ontario Historical parties represented in the legislature Pre-confederation parties
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