Small Parties’ Positions
Canadian Choice Party, which describes itself as “a unique party designed for independents,” fielded two candidates. The party argues that while many people do not vote, they should and can “play a pivotal role” by “voting for independents or candidates from smaller parties, who are mainly part of the suffering population and are neither career politicians nor members of the aristocratic oligarchy.”
Aside from eliminating the party control over MPPs, Canadian Choice Party stands for recall and referenda. It says what while “a Party governing Independents may be an oxymoron,” its aim is to “enable Independents” to stand for election.
Consensus Ontario wants to see “party-less politics.” It fielded two candidates and says: “Ontarians want their MPPs to listen to them, they want them to represent their riding’s views at Queen’s Park, not the party’s views back to the riding.” It defines “non-partisan (party-less) democracy” as one that would return to “government by the people,” not “government by the party.”
Its website states: “Universal and periodic elections will take place without reference to political parties. Consensus Ontario will work towards the removal of all parties (including itself) from politics in Ontario and replace it with independent, elected representatives who answer to their constituents.” In a “consensus government,” it says, the “premier and cabinet are chosen from within the elected legislature without reference to any party affiliation.”
The Electoral Reform Party fielded two candidates and says it wants to “challenge the top-down nature of our political process.” It favours proportional representation or single transferable votes so that “Ontarians are free from strategic voting.” It says it would oblige politicians to represent their local constituents, requiring MPPs “to hold monthly Town Halls in their riding so their constituents can hold them accountable face-to-face and so MPPs have a pulse on the riding they represent.” MPPs would also be required to write weekly public reports “to explain how they’ve been representing their constituents each week” and their salaries would be tied to a system of approval rating by their constituents.
None of the Above Direct Democracy Party fielded 28 candidates in the election, including one in Windsor-Tecumseh. It too calls for a system where MPPs “are not bound by party control and who truly can represent their constituents first.” The components of its direct democracy are referred to as the “3Rs: Referendum, Recall and Responsible Government laws for true Legislative and Electoral Reforms.”
A key component of its electoral reform program is ending the inequality of candidates and parties built into the election law. In March of this year, None of the Above launched a court challenge to an Elections Ontario ruling saying it lacked authority to require election debate organizers to include all candidates in election debates. Party leader Greg Vezina says the Chief Electoral Officer has “a duty to remind debate organizers to invite candidates from smaller parties” and that Elections Ontario is violating the rights of voters by not doing so.
The definition of the word “debate” is at the center of the pleadings in the court challenge, with None of the Above arguing Elections Ontario should treat debates as election expenses, and therefore contributions to parties when they are organized on an exclusive basis. In its submissions, Elections Ontario argues the agency has no authority over the organization of pre-election debates in the province because the legislature wanted it to avoid controlling the political expression of the candidates.
Other small parties in the provincial election did not particularly highlight the need for electoral reform in their campaigns, but listed various aspects of electoral reform in their programs. The Communist Party of Ontario which fielded 12 candidates called for a Mixed Member Proportional System; lower campaign spending limits; the right to recall; “average workers’ wage” salaries for elected officials; lowering the voting age to 16; and reforming election broadcasting to ensure “fair and equal access to all candidates and parties.” It said it would regulate the spending power of “corporate front organizations” and remove the ban on trade unions funding political parties.