Family Coalition Party of Ontario
||This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. (June 2012)|
|Family Coalition Party of Ontario|
Active provincial party
|Ideology||Social conservatism, Localism|
|Colours||Light blue, Green|
|Politics of Ontario
The Family Coalition Party (FCP) is a small political party in Ontario, Canada that promotes a socially conservative ideology. It was formed in 1987 by members of the pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and has fielded candidates in every provincial election since then. It is led by Phil Lees, a retired school teacher and university instructor.
The first leader of the party was Donald Pennell, who had been a candidate for the Ontario Liberal Party in the 1975 provincial election. He served as FCP leader from 1987 to 1997. Pennell subsequently campaigned for the Canadian Alliance in the 2000 federal election.
Pennell was replaced by Giuseppe Gori, who led the party from 1997 to October 2009. A leadership convention was held in Hamilton on October 24, 2009, to elect a new leader. Phil Lees was elected by acclamation.
The party's strongest showing to date was in the 1990 provincial election, when it received over 100,000 votes. In 1990 several candidates received over 10% of the popular vote (the best was 13%) but the party ran only 76 candidates. Its support declined in the 1995 and 1999 elections, followed by a modest recovery in 2003 when it ran in 51 out of 103 ridings. The party nominated 83 candidates in the 107 ridings- for the 2007 Ontario election. In those 83 ridings, it obtained 1.045% of the votes, or 0.82% province-wide. None of its candidates have ever been elected to the Ontario Legislature.
During the 1999 election, the party achieved a limited media attention by conducting a demonstration at Queen's Park featuring three "cloned sheep" to represent Progressive Conservative leader Mike Harris, Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty and New Democratic Party leader Howard Hampton. The FCP's intent was both to indicate their opposition to cloning technology, and to suggest that the major parties were identical in ignoring family issues.
Since the 2011 Ontario election, the FCP has been working on local advocacy campaigns around the province, most notably involving the challenge of the controversial Bill 13 anti-bullying legislation  presented by the Ontario Liberal Party. FCP leader Phil Lees was a speaker at two Queen’s Park Bill 13 protest rallies in early 2012. The FCP states that it intends to become more active and visible between elections, to better represent what it calls the “traditional-principled” electorate in Ontario.
The FCP's principles include respect for life, freedom and ownership of property. They emphasize "the family, rather than the individual" as the "basic building block of our society", and asserts that the promotion of stronger family units will result in reduced social problems and a more robust workforce. The party's emphasis on the family unit favours heterosexual married couples: it opposes spousal benefits for both same-sex couples and common-law heterosexual couples. The FCP supports increasing personal and spousal tax exemption, as well as providing assistance to single mothers who choose to carry a pregnancy to term. It also recognizes "the work of mothers in the nurturing of children", and supports increased tax benefits for stay-at-home parents. On education, the FCP favours options for families to choose the form of education that best suits their values and needs, and the protection of parental values in the school setting.
The party's policies on other matters are generally conservative, although not universally so. The FCP supports a reduction in the size of government, as well as "the long-term removal of all measures that insulate industries, businesses, financial institutions, professions and trade unions from domestic and foreign competition". The FCP recognizes that the government has a role to play in issues relating to environmental management, and ensuring access to health services regardless of ability to pay.
The FCP also supports voter recall, referenda and electoral financing reform.
|Year of election||# of candidates||# of seats won||# of votes||% of popular vote|
Donald Pennell (1987-1997)
Donald Pennell is a political and religious activist in Ontario. He was the first leader of the Family Coalition Party, and has campaigned for political office on many occasions.
He first ran for political office in the 1975 provincial election, as a Liberal Party candidate in Burlington South. He lost to Progressive Conservative incumbent George Albert Kerr by just under 6,000 votes.
Pennell was a leading figure in founding the Family Coalition Party in 1987. This group was initially a political extension of Campaign Life, an anti-abortion organization based in Ontario. Pennell was chosen as the FCP's first interim leader, and subsequently as its first full-time leader. In addition to promoting a pro-life position on abortion, the FCP also promoted socially conservative views on other issues.
In the 1995 provincial election, Pennell ran against sitting Ontario Premier Bob Rae in the Toronto riding of York South. After a very distant fourth place finish, Pennell stepped down as leader of the Family Coalition Party in 1997, and was replaced by Giuseppe Gori.
In the 2000 federal election, Pennell ran as a candidate of the Canadian Alliance in Burlington. Some political observers expressed surprise that the former leader of a minor provincial party would be allowed to stand for Canada's official opposition. Pennell received a career high of 11,500 votes, but still finished almost 11,000 votes behind the winner, Liberal incumbent Paddy Torsney. Ironically, Torsney had worked as a volunteer on Pennell's 1975 campaign.
He remained an advisor to the Family Coalition Party after 1997, and helped select the party's candidates for the 1999 provincial election.
Pennell is also involved in a number of conservative Roman Catholic organizations. He now lives in Vineland, Ontario, and works as the communications and public relations director of The Fatima Center, a devotional group based around the miracles said to have occurred near Fátima, Portugal in the early twentieth century. In 2004, Pennell criticized a Hindu group for conducting a devotional service on the shrine grounds.
Giuseppe Gori (1997-2009)
Giuseppe Gori is a businessman and a politician in Ontario. From 1997 to 2009, he was the leader of the Family Coalition Party. Gori has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pisa in Italy (1973). He worked as an Assistant Professor at Pisa for three years, and has also been a visiting professor at the University of Western Ontario. In the 1980s Gori has held positions at IBM, Canada Systems Group and Geac Computer Corporation.
Gori replaced Donald Pennell as leader of the FCP in 1997. Like other members of his party, he is pro-life (from conception to natural death) and supports what he describes as "traditional family values". Gori did not run in the October 2009 leadership election to dedicate more time to his manufacturing business. He was succeeded as party leader by Phil Lees.
(See Elections Ontario results at: http://www.elections.on.ca/en-CA/Tools/PastResults.htm)
- Ontario general election, 1990, Halton North, 2,489 votes, or 9.2% (winning candidate: Noel Duignan, New Democratic Party)
- Ontario general election, 1995, York Centre, 1,891 votes (winning candidate: Al Palladini, Progressive Conservative)
- Ontario general election, 1999, Halton, 755 votes (winning candidate: Ted Chudleigh, Progressive Conservative)
- Ontario general election, 2003, Halton, 1,123 votes (winning candidate: Ted Chudleigh, Progressive Conservative)
- Ontario general election, 2007, Wellington - Halton Hills (electoral district), 559 votes (1.3% (winning candidate: Ted Arnott, Progressive Conservative)
Phil Lees (2009-present)
Lees is an educator by profession. During the course of his career he became cognizant of what he describes as a "radical change in values being encouraged by the teachers union". He became involved in grass roots activism following an incident with his own child. Her 5th grade class had been shown a film titled Head Full of Questions. This film depicted adult sexual intercourse and provided an understanding of homosexuality. He founded a group called the Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council to address the issues at local schools. He ran for office in the 1999 election.
- Family Coalition Party of Ontario candidates, 1990 Ontario provincial election
- Family Coalition Party of Ontario candidates, 1995 Ontario provincial election
- Family Coalition Party of Ontario candidates, 2003 Ontario provincial election
- Family Coalition Party of Ontario candidates, 2007 Ontario provincial election
- Family Coalition Party of Ontario candidates, 2011 Ontario provincial election
- Family Coalition Party Biography of Phil Lees
- Elections Ontario
- Deborah Gyapong (17 September 2007). "Referendum on changing voting system divides pro-lifers". Canadian Catholic News. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- Tallyn, Lisa (October 12, 2007). "Longtime Conservative rolls to easy victory in Wellington-Halton". Inside Halton. Retrieved 14 June 2011.