9 new political parties vying for seats in Ontario election

There are nine new political parties registered in Ontario and at least one pundit says the number is a sure sign of an “anti-incumbent” election.

Expert says growth is due to 'anti-incumbent' nature of election, parties say voters not being heard

Consensus Ontario Leader Brad Harness greets supporters in the riding of London West. (Supplied)

There are nine new political parties registered in Ontario and at least one pundit says the number is a sure sign of an "anti-incumbent" election.

All of the new parties are small. Some are focused on one issue. Others take positions on a broad range of issues. Still others want a different approach to governing.

The nine entrants bring the total number of parties in the election to 28.

Many leaders of the new parties told CBC Toronto they have launched the parties because they believe voters are not being heard.

Chris Cochrane, a University of Toronto associate political science professor, says he thinks the new parties see this election as an opportunity.

"Change is in the air in this election," Cochrane says. "I think the biggest reason for the increase in the number of parties running is the fact that everybody realizes time is up for the Liberals." 
Chris Cochrane, a University of Toronto associate political science professor, says the new political parties are seeking to stake out 'ideological space' not claimed by more established parties. (Kenneth Jones/University of Toronto Scarborough)

He argues that tightening of political fundraising rules has also contributed to the growth, because it has helped to level the playing field.

Since Jan. 1, 2017, parties have been banned from receiving donations from corporations and unions. Individuals can donate, but the maximum amount that can be given to parties and candidates in a given year is $3,600.

Cochrane says these nine new parties are fringe in nature, occupying space on the outer edges of the left and right ideological spectrum. The single issue ones are targeting an issue they believe is ignored by the other parties, while the niche parties are trying to combine or bundle issues in a new way to create an alternative.

These parties are trying to find new "ideological space," he added.

"If you were to think of ideological space in say, three dimensions, they find an area, a three-dimensional space, that no other party is in," he said.

So who are they and what do they stand for?

Consensus Ontario

Consensus Ontario wants to end the party system in Ontario. It proposes to replace all political parties, including its own, with a system of consensus government in which MPPs are independent. It's a system of government used in Canada's territorial governments.

"It would work fine in Ontario," its leader Brad Harness says.

Harness says the big three parties practise "divide and conquer" politics because they buy off special interest groups through the spending of money on pet projects.

"Under consensus government, the only things that would get done are things that have broad support," he says.

The party has 10 candidates. They are running in Humber-Black Creek, Nickel Belt, Sudbury, London West, Kitchener-Conestoga, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, Haliburton-Kawaratha Lakes-Brock, Perth Wellington, Dufferin-Caledon, and Burlington.
An election sign for The New Peoples Choice Party. (Daryl Christoff)

The New People's Choice Party of Ontario 

The New People's Choice Party of Ontario proposes to charge drivers a congestion fee of $20 a day for going into Toronto's urban core. The party is also committed to affordable housing for all and it wants to update provincial safety nets, which it says include health care and public education.

It is proposing a retail marijuana sales tax to fund programs. It supports the distribution of legal pot through independent retailers, not government-run stores.

It wants to review existing protections for watersheds and greenbelts and it believes in "retrofitting everything" to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. It would increase health care spending, especially in northern Ontario.

"Our policies will make Ontarians healthier. Clean air, less congestion, less stress and more jobs," its website reads.

Its leader is Daryl Christoff. It has three candidates running in University-Rosedale, Toronto Centre and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.
Patrick Geoffrey Knight, pictured here, is the leader of the Canadian Economic Party. (YouTube)

Canadian Economic Party 

Canadian Economic Party is part of a world political movement to end poverty and homelessness. It is proposing a basic income in Canada for all residents that would roughly equal about $1,000 a month.

The party reportedly has several Facebook groups to promote its cause. Its leader is Patrick Geoffrey Knight. It has two candidates in Toronto, in Toronto Centre and Don Valley West. 

Multicultural Party of Ontario 

Multicultural Party of Ontario wants to rebuild the notion of multiculturalism in Ontario, a policy it believes has been neglected to the province's detriment. The party says language and culture define people, and when they lose their language and culture, they can become lost themselves.

The party is interested in preserving small town culture as well. Its leader is Wasyl Luczkiw. It has two candidates running in Niagara West and Haldimand Norfolk. 

Ontario Alliance Party 

Ontario Alliance Party bills itself as a "free enterprise alternative." The party, according to its website, is "made up of regular everyday folk like you, tired of wasteful government spending, disillusioned by regional disparity and sick and tired of the ever-growing provincial debt."

It has a seven-point plan for change, which includes a balanced budget, no carbon pricing, no to the sex ed curriculum, restoring labour-management relations, more health care accountability and more intergovernmental autonomy.

Its website says it is also calling for "more open debate by protecting and preserving freedom of speech and conscience, less party discipline through unwhipped free votes and free voices for all MPPs to provide balanced representation for their constituents' wishes."

Its leader is Joshua Eriksen. It has three candidates running in Huron-Bruce, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, and Perth-Wellington. 
Jay Tysick, pictured here, is the interim leader of the Ontario Party. (Supplied)

Ontario Party

Ontario Party says it is a constitution-based party focused on putting the people of Ontario first.

"We will end government overreach which burdens all with regulation and taxes, by restoring government to its legitimate mandate only," it said in an email.

It wants to reduce hydro bills by 80 per cent by getting rid of global adjustment fees, repeal cap and trade and oppose a federal carbon tax, restore parental rights in education and end the debt. It also wants no whipped votes

Its interim leader is Jason Tysick. It has five candidates running in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Guelph, Carleton, Oxford, and Brantford-Brant. 

Ontario Social Reform Party 

Ontario Social Reform Party wants a system of checks and balances, with more accountability and transparency in government. It also aims to be a voice for visible minorities in the province. "We want to see a different kind of politics take place in Ontario," says its leader Abu Alam.

Alam said leaders have too much political say, with individual candidates having too little power. Also, a dominant class is running Ontario, with minorities suffering, he says.

"I stand for the minorities. I stand for anyone who is neglected," he said.

The party has two candidates, one in Aurora-Oakridges-Richmond Hill, the other in Milton.

Party of Objective Truth

Party of Objective Truth, known as P.O.T., is calling for a meritocratic order, in which people have power as a result of their abilities. It would like to reform certain government services, such as Children's Aid and Ontario Works.

Its leader is Derrick Lionel Matthews. It has two candidates running in Elgin-Middlesex-London and Nepean. Its website is still under construction.
Ken Ranney, pictured here, is the leader of the Stop Climate Change party. (YouTube)

Stop Climate Change

"The Stop Climate Change Party has been created by a group of people who realize that Canada is not doing its share to prevent the disasters that will happen if we do not stop climate change," says its leader Kenneth Ranney.

"We have to stop using fossil fuels now, if we hope to keep climate change from getting worse. We must switch to sustainable electricity with the urgency and speed we would discover in time of war.

"We are not talking about reducing emissions. We want to eliminate emissions."

The party has two candidates running in Northumberland-Peterborough and Peterborough Kawartha. 
Leaders of new political parties in Ontario say the parties were launched because they think voters are not being heard. (CBC)