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Ontario Votes 2003

Main > Parties and Leaders
Election Day: Oct. 2, 2003   

Parties in the Legislature

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

The Conservative party came into existence more than 20 years before the province of Ontario was created in 1867. Tories have governed the province for longer than any other party, claiming 13 of the province's 23 premiers as theirs.

The PCs have governed the province for 50 of the last 60 years. After a decade out of power from 1985 to 1995, the Tories swept back to power with Mike Harris's Common Sense Revolution, and its promises of tax cuts and smaller government. Ernie Eves took over as leader in the spring of 2002. http://www.ontariopc.com/

Premier Ernie Eves discusses the campaign with Canada Now's Heather Hiscox (Sept. 29, runs 6:23)
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Liberal Party of Ontario

The Liberals have been around longer than the province of Ontario, which came into existence with Confederation in 1867. The party has governed Ontario for 48 years, 34 of those before 1905. The Liberals boast eight premiers, including Sir Oliver Mowat, who won six successive elections and was premier for 24 years at the end of the 19th century.

The last Liberal government to hold power was under David Peterson, for the latter half of the 1980s. Peterson's government ended 42 years of Conservative rule in Ontario. He lost to the NDP in 1990, after taking voters to the polls just three years into his party's mandate. Dalton McGuinty is the current leader of the party. http://www.ontarioliberal.on.ca

Canada Now's Heather Hiscox in conversation with Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty, who thinks things have gone much better for him than they did in 1999. (Oct. 1, runs 6:14)
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A montage of Dalton McGuinty stump anecdotes from Here and Now. (Runs 6:20)
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Leader Dalton McGuinty talks with Here and Now's Avril Benoit. (Sept. 5; runs 6:17)
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New Democratic Party of Ontario

The NDP was founded in 1962 by labour unions and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). The party traces its roots back to the labour and farmers' movements that emerged after World War I. It is a based on principles of social democracy, including "a fair distribution of wealth amongst all citizens." One of the NDP's founders, Tommy Douglas, is credited with spearheading the creation of Canada's health-care system based on universal access.

In its first Ontario provincial general election, in 1963, the NDP won seven seats under Donald C. MacDonald. One of those MPPs was Stephen Lewis, who went on to lead the party through much of the 1970s. Under Lewis, the NDP became the official opposition in 1975. The NDP has won a single majority government at the polls - in 1990 under leader Bob Rae. Howard Hampton has led the party since Rae resigned in 1996. http://www.ontariondp.on.ca/

Canada Now's Heather Hiscox in conversation with NDP leader Howard Hampton, who insists momentum is on his side. (Sept. 30, runs 6:13)
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NDP leader Howard Hampton converses about the campaign with Here and Now's Avril Benoit. (Sept. 29, runs 12:06)
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THUNDER BAY – NDP leader Howard Hampton talks northern issues with The Great Northwest's Lisa Laco. (Sept. 25, runs 8:04)
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WINDSOR – NDP leader Howard Hampton is questioned about issues like strategic voting and what happens if the NDP loses official party status with Morning Watch's Paul Vasey. (Sept. 25, runs 6:53)
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With just one week to go before voting day, NDP leader Howard Hampton has a big task ahead. Ottawa Morning's Lucy van Oldenbarneveld speaks with NDP leader Howard Hampton. (Sept. 25, runs 6:20)
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Leader Howard Hampton joins Ontario Today's Alan Neal on the party leader phone-in series. (Sept. 22, runs 49:49)
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Leader Howard Hampton talks with Here and Now's Avril Benoit. (From Sept. 3; runs 4:38)
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Other Parties

The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario)

The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario), under leader Elizabeth Rowley, is fielding a handful of candidates in the 2003 election. The party was founded in May of 1921, in a barn just outside Guelph, Ont., as a response to growing post-war unemployment. The party sees signs of hope for its socialist cause in the demonstrations and movements that have arisen around the world to fight against globalization. http://www.communist-party.ca

Leader Elizabeth Rowley talks with Here and Now's Avril Benoit. (From Sept. 17; runs 6:51)
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Family Coalition Party

The Family Coalition Party was founded just in time for the 1987 provincial election, when it fielded 36 candidates. It is dedicated, according to its Web site, "to principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law." Under leader Giuseppe Gori, who's running in Halton, the party is putting forward over 50 candidates this time around. http://www.FamilyParty.on.ca

Leader Giuseppe Gori talks with Here and Now's Avril Benoit. (Sept. 19, runs 6:18)
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Freedom Party of Ontario

The Freedom Party of Ontario was founded in 1984 and touts the "live and let live" philosophy. Under leader Paul McKeever, the party proposes such things as allowing "parents to pay their tuition fees directly to the schools of their choice," so private schools aren't only for the wealthy. It stands sixth in the tally of candidates fielded by registered parties in Ontario. http://www.freedomparty.on.ca/home.htm

Leader Paul McKeever talks with Here and Now's Avril Benoit. (Sept. 11. runs 7:03)
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Green Party of Ontario

Under leader Frank de Jong, the Green Party of Ontario had hoped to field 103 candidates in the 2003 election, so "each and every Ontario voter [would] have the chance to vote Green." But when the nominations closed on Sept. 18, 2003, the party was one candidate short of a full slate, with 102 Green candidates having registered with Elections Ontario.

The Green Party of Ontario was constituted in the spring of 1987, and is part of a larger, international movement to bring the "protection, preservation, and restoration of the natural world" onto the mainstream political stage. Its mission is to make the development of society both "sustainable" and "non-exploitive" of the earth.

In this election, the Greens list their 10 key values as: sustainability; social justice; grassroots democracy; ecological wisdom; decentralization; non-violence; feminism; diversity, personal and global responsibility; and community-based economics.

Internationally the Green political movement has had some success entering the political mainstream, most notably in Germany, where a system of proportional representation has seen the election of Green candidates to the German parliament there. The party faces a larger challenge in the Canadian political system.

In 2000, well-known consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader ran for the U.S. presidency under the Green banner, against George W. Bush. He garnered support from nearly 2.7 million voters, or 2.6 per cent of ballots cast. http://www.greenparty.on.ca

Green Party leader Frank de Jong joins Ontario Today's Sherry Drysdale to kick off the party leader phone-in series. (Sept. 18, runs 51:38)
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Leader Frank de Jong talks with Here and Now's Avril Benoit. (Sept. 9, runs 7:18)
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The party is profiled by Canada Now's Susan Pedler. (Sept. 19, runs 5:00)
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Ontario Libertarian Party

The Libertarians are running for office to "reduce government involvement in our lives and economy." They propose, for example, that government get completely out of education and health care, and stop financing "any business in any manner." Topping the list of guiding principles are individual freedom and property rights. Under leader Sam Apelbaum, the party is running about a half-dozen candidates. The Libertarian Party of Ontario was formed in the early 1970s. http://www.libertarian.on.ca

Here and Now's Avril Benoit talks with Libertarian Party leader Sam Apelbaum about why his group wants to shrink government. (Sept. 25, runs 6:01)
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Ontario Provincial Confederation of Regions Party

The Confederation of Regions Party of Ontario was founded in May 1990, and is most notable for its opposition to official multiculturalism and the use of French in the delivery of government services. It currently has no leader, but says it would elect one if it had a caucus. It is fielding one candidate in the election (as of Sept. 12). http://mountaincable.net/~galloway/cor/

Here and Now's Avril Benoit talks with Dr. Richard Butson, the sole Ontario Confederation of Regions Party candidate, about the party's philosophy (Sept. 29, runs 5:56)
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