Reform Party of Ontario
|Reform Party of Ontario|
Active provincial party
|Headquarters||415 Scott St E
|Seats in Legislature|
|Politics of Ontario
The Reform Party of Ontario is an unregistered political party in Ontario, Canada. Until the 1999 provincial election, the party ran one candidate each election merely to keep the party's name in the possession of the Reform Party of Canada.
Although a small group of candidates laid claim to the name, they had been forced to run under title 'Independent Reform'. As the federal Reform Party is now defunct, several independent Reformers have revived the party name, and the party ran two candidates in the 2007 provincial election and four in the 2011 provincial election.
The Reform Party of Ontario is not to be confused with the pre-Confederation Reform Party, which later became the Ontario Liberal Party, with the leftist United Reform party of the 1940s, or the registered pro-life conservative New Reform Party of Ontario.
Official Reform Party of Ontario
The federal Reform Party registered the "Reform Party of Ontario" name in 1989, and re-registered it in 1994. This registration was made to prevent anyone else from using the 'Reform' name in Ontario politics; the party would nominate one paper candidate in each election and would not campaign actively. Ken Kalopsis, the co-president of the Canadian Alliance, was picked to run for the RPO in the 1999 provincial election in Davenport solely in order to control the rights to the party name. Kalopsis won 174 votes without campaigning.
Federal Reform leader Preston Manning and Ontario Premier Mike Harris had a good relationship, and it was agreed that the Reform party would not campaign actively provincially in order to prevent vote splitting. The provincial PCs returned the favour by giving some unofficial support to Reform in federal politics.
Robert Beard was the party's leader in 2002. With the end of the federal Reform Party, the RPO was deregistered in September 2003.
In 1993, several supporters of the Reform Party of Canada started a movement which advocated for an active Reform party in Ontario. This movement was not affiliated with the national Reform party, and thus was prevented from using the Reform Party of Ontario name by Elections Ontario.
Subsequent to the 1995 general election, the group founded "Grassroots United Against Reform's Demise" (GUARD) to lobby for the Reform Party's participation in provincial politics. "Focus Federally For Reform", which opposed an active party, was formed in response. A vast majority of Ontario Reform supporters backed Focus Federally, and Grassroots United lost their bid to have the party enter Ontario politics.
The group supporting a Reform movement in Ontario formed the Reform Association for Ontario and ran unsuccessfully in the 1995 election. The party's leader, Kimble Ainslie, alleged that Preston Manning and Mike Harris had arranged a secret deal to prevent the federal Reform Party from participating in provincial politics. Candidates were nominated in Huron—Bruce, Kitchener—Waterloo, and other ridings in London, Ontario, and won only a handful of votes.
In the 1999 Ontario election, the Reform Association for Ontario ran a candidate in Prince Edward—Hastings and in the 2003 Ontario election ran a candidate in Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound. Both were credited as "Independent Reform" candidates, and both were unsuccessful.
The Reform Association for Ontario was renamed the Reform Ontario Movement and continued to promote its agenda, including fixed election dates, a referendum on the issue of electoral reform, and more free votes in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
It appears that Reform Ontario was intended to be superseded by the Representative Party of Ontario, which was formed by and led by Bill Cook, a former Reform Ontario activist. When the name was rejected in 2005, the party was then intended to be revived as Ontario Alternative. However, as the federal Reform party no longer has possession of the name "Reform Party of Ontaro", the name was re-claimed by the provincial Reformers for the 2007 election. The party ran two candidates, in Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound and Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, but neither candidate was elected.
2009 and 2010 by-elections
On February 4, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that a by-election would be held on March 5, 2009 in Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock to fill the seat vacated by Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament Laurie Scott, who stepped aside so that PC leader John Tory could seek a seat in the legislature.
Reform Party leader Brad Harness announced that the party planned to run a candidate, and slammed Tory as an "urbanite" who wouldn't appeal to "big C" Conservatives. Harness emphasized Reformers are not social conservatives, but fiscal conservatives favouring smaller government and greater individual liberties. However, the party did not end up fielding a candidate.
Harness announced that he would run a Reform candidate in the March 4, 2010 by-election in Ottawa West—Nepean, but did not do so.
|Election||Candidates nominated||Candidates elected||Total votes||% of popular vote|