Jean-Serge Brisson started his own business at age 20, opening a radiator repair shop in Embrun, Ont., where he was born, raised, and still lives. His political involvement began in 1980, when he objected to the introduction of the metric system in Canada.
In 1988, Brisson began a campaign of civil disobedience against the seatbelt laws. He had been in an accident in 1974, and believes not wearing a seatbelt saved his life. He eventually spent 20 days in jail on seatbelt-related charges, including violations totalling $9,000. He was put in solitary confinement after starting a hunger strike.
Brisson’s other political actions include not filing income tax returns, and running for municipal council in Russell, Ont., where he is currently a councillor. He has also run in several federal and provincial elections since 1988. Brisson sat out the 2004 election, having just been elected to his position as councillor. He is running in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell in this campaign.
Brisson has officially been leader of the party since May 2000, although he had been leading the party for three years before that, after the previous leader moved to Mexico.
Doug Christie is a lawyer and long-time advocate for the western separatist cause. He is perhaps best known for defending clients accused of hate crimes, including James Keegstra, and Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel.
Christie has been accused of holding views close to those of his clients, but he defended himself in a recent article, saying “to defend the unpopular is to realize the value of courage and the meaning of discipline.”
Christie says he has been advocating for western separatism since 1974. He also founded Western Canada Concept, a right-leaning group advocating for western separatism. Christie is running in the B.C. riding of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.
Figueroa has run as a candidate for the 83-year-old socialist party in every general election since 1984, choosing ridings from Halifax to Vancouver East.
In his early 50s, Figueroa has toured the country, speaking to university and community groups about modern communism and the principles of Marxism-Leninism. "Some people find it necessary to wear a hammer and sickle on their foreheads, but we don't," Figueroa has said.
Though he's never been elected, Figueroa has had a significant impact on Canada's electoral process. He went to court after the Communist Party of Canada was deregistered for not running enough candidates in the 1993 federal election (it ran in only eight ridings). That meant, among other things, that it had to liquefy its tiny asset base and hand the proceeds over to the federal government.
As a result of a challenge mounted by Figueroa, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down parts of the Canada Elections Act in June 2003, giving the federal government 12 months to come up with a new law. Parties can now run just one candidate in a general election and still stay registered. The party's name can be placed on the ballot next to that of its candidates if it competes in just 12 ridings, down significantly from the 50-candidate rule imposed in the 1993 election.
Figueroa's team ran 35 candidates in the 2004 general election.
Fogal is an activist lawyer and former teacher, as well as the widow of longtime Vancouver city councillor Harry Rankin.
In 2002, she ran as a Green Party candidate for city hall in Vancouver, hoping to fill Rankin's shoes. The native of Saskatchewan has fought the expansion of gambling in British Columbia; the Multilateral Agreement on Investments, which is designed to eliminate barriers to global trade; and the expropriation of Nanoose Bay for U.S. weapons testing.
Fogal acts as spokesperson for the Defence of Canadian Liberty Committee and has conducted an internet campaign against globalization through www.canadianliberty.bc.ca. She has also been critical of Canada's anti-terrorism legislation.
Fogal is past president of the party, which was founded by former Trudeau cabinet minister Paul Hellyer in 1997. She ran as a candidate in Vancouver- Kingsway in 2000 and Vancouver-Quadra in 2004. She is running in Vancouver-Kingsway in this election.
Gray has been leader of the party since 1995 and has run as a candidate for the party since 1988. It's hard to imagine where he's found the time, since he and his wife have raised nine children. They now have 12 grandchildren.
Gray is running in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon in B.C., the riding Chuck Strahl won in 2004. Gray also ran there in 2004, coming in fifth with 2.58 per cent of the vote.
Although born and educated in British Columbia, Gray has worked in several places during his career as a newsman, public information officer and federal government staff member. He has worked for newspapers in British Columbia and in Fiji, and served as an information officer at the CBC. He also opened and managed federal government information offices in Winnipeg and Vancouver, and a Canadian tourism office in Cleveland.
Gray became a Christian in 1978 and has been active in church activities since then. According to the party website, Gray's goals include increasing the party membership, to enhance understanding of the party's goals, and prepare the party to govern. He writes that "Christians must lead by being the servants of all."
Blair Longley must love politics. Longley has run for a seat in the House of Commons on three different occasions, each time under a different party banner. In 1984, he ran for the federal Green Party, after attending the founding meeting a year earlier. In 1988, he ran with no party affiliation. He represented the Marijuana Party in North Okanagan-Shuswap and garnered 492 votes in the 2004 election. From 1985 to 1987, he was a registered agent of the Rhinoceros Party.
Born in 1950, Longley grew up in North Vancouver. His biography on the Marijuana Party's website says he attended university or lived on campus for a dozen years, eventually earning a bachelor's degree.
Longley spent about 12 years in court, arguing he could make a contribution to a political party and direct how the money was spent (to buy himself a bicycle, for example). He won the "Longley's loophole" case in 2000 and the Marijuana Party funneled much of its money through the tax scheme. Later tax reforms closed the loophole.
Longley took over the Marijuana Party leadership in 2005 after the founder, Marc-Boris St. Maurice, joined the Liberal Party.
Tracy Parsons grew up in Brampton, Ont., and earned a diploma in business from St. Catharines Business College. She is not only the leader, but one of the founding members of the PCP, the newest of the federal parties. The party was officially registered in May 2004, basing much of its policy on the Progressive Conservative party.
Parsons has been involved in politics for years, mostly behind the scenes at the provincial and federal levels of the PC party. She ran as a candidate in the municipal election in Niagara Falls in 1997, and as a PCP candidate in 2004 in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, garnering one per cent of the vote.
In 2005, she succeeded the party’s founding leader Ernie Shreiber, when he stepped down for health reasons. Parsons is running in the Ottawa area riding of Carleton–Mississippi Mills.
Smith is the widow of the party's founder and longtime leader Hardial Bains. She took over the helm at a congress held several months after his death in 1997. She went on to lead the party through the 2000 and 2004 general elections. In 2004, the party ran candidates in 76 ridings, down from 84 in 2000.
Smith had joined the Internationalists in 1968, which went on to become the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), with her as a founding member.
She is currently director of research at the Ideological Studies Centre. The party's website says Smith "is particularly known nationally and internationally for her work on the modern definition of rights and their defence… champion[ing] the recognition of the right of Quebec to self-determination, the hereditary rights of the First Nations, and the affirmation of the collective rights of women, youth and students, the working class, national minorities, the impoverished, the disabled, and all others."
First Peoples National Party of Canada
Barbara Wardlaw is Ojibwa and lives in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. She is not running in this election, saying that’s not her role in the new party right now. She is a federal public servant, who has been active in her union, PSAC, but is new on the political scene. Wardlaw says the party is just starting out, and the aim for this election is to put a face to the new political player.
Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada
White is a well-known animal rights activist in Ontario. She has also been the director of the Animal Alliance of Canada, a militant animal rights group, since the 1980s. The group opposes the seal hunt, and in the fall joined a North American call for a boycott of Canadian seafood because of the seal hunt. She spoke out against the Toronto ban on pit bulls. She and her group also actively campaigned for Winnipeg city councillors who opposed a plan to sell lost dogs from the city pound to medical researchers. At one time, White was a director at the Toronto Humane Society. White is the only candidate running for the party in this election. She is running in Toronto Centre.