Freedom Party of Ontario
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|Active provincial party|
|Headquarters||240 Commissioners Road West|
|Colours||Black and White|
The Freedom Party of Ontario (FPO, French: Parti de la Liberté – Ontario) is a provincial political party in Ontario, Canada. It was founded on January 1, 1984 in London, Ontario by Robert Metz and Marc Emery. The Freedom Party has fielded candidates in every provincial election since 1985, and in several by-elections. It has also participated in numerous public policy debates, often on contentious social issues.
In 1980 a schism occurred in the libertarian movement in Ontario, with several members of the Libertarian Party, unhappy with its direction and democratic structure, left to follow the objectivist Unparty. In 1984, the Unparty changed its name to the Freedom Party of Ontario.
The Freedom Party's founding principle is that "every individual, in the peaceful pursuit of personal fulfillment, has an absolute right to his or her own life, liberty, and property." The Freedom Party membership's stated objectives are four-fold: encouraging voters to vote for FPO candidates in provincial elections and by-elections, influencing government through the election of FPO candidates to the Ontario legislature, protecting every Ontarian's right to life, liberty and property, and lastly building and supporting the FPO by becoming a network of individuals dedicated to carrying out the aforementioned principles, described in detail above.
The party has, from its inception in 1984, explained that "the Freedom Party believes that the purpose of government is to protect our freedom of choice, not to restrict it." The party advocates government that takes into account only claims backed by evidence. It submits that all government laws and decisions must be logical, and must at all times serve the purpose of ensuring that no person's life, liberty, or property is taken without his consent.
Freedom Party holds the pursuit of one's own happiness to be an individual's highest moral purpose. To that end, it rejects libertarianism (which it holds is implicitly morally relativistic and anti-government), and instead champions the governmental defence of individual values such as life, liberty, property.
The Freedom Party of Ontario was founded by a number of people based in the London, Ontario area, including Robert Metz and Marc Emery of London, who had founded The London Tribune (a broadsheet daily newspaper) in London in 1980  and, later published the London Metrobulletin (beginning in March 1983). Toward the end of 1983, Metz assumed the registration of the Toronto-based Unparty which folded and closed its Toronto office. Elections Ontario approved the party's name change on October 19, 1983. Because Metz and Emery were turning their attention to electoral politics, the final issue of the London Metrobulletin was published in December 1983. Freedom Party of Ontario was officially launched on January 1, 1984, with its head office in London. Freedom Party of Ontario's founding platform was summarized in the statement: "Freedom Party believes that the purpose of government is to protect our freedom of choice, not to restrict it."
The FPO was best known during the 1980s for its campaigns against censorship and provincial laws that restricted Sunday shopping. Robert Metz, the party's first president, spoke for the FPO in 1987 when he argued that the Sunday shopping debate was fundamentally about freedom of choice for the retailer and consumer. Leading FPO members also opposed legal restrictions on pornography that depicts consensual sex between consenting adults, and opposed the prohibition of marijuana, arguing that the state did not have the right to legislate in such matters.
On economic issues, the FPO supported tax reductions and opposed provincial welfare programs. It was also critical of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and of affirmative action programs. Some prominent former members of Voice of Canadians (VOC), a now-defunct group that opposed official multiculturalism and official bilingualism, have affiliated with the FPO since the 1990s.
Metz became the first leader of the party in 1987, and served until 1994 when he was replaced by Jack Plant. Plant stepped down in 1997, and was replaced by Lloyd Walker. All of the party's leaders between 1987 and 2002 were from London, and the party's activities were organized primarily from that city. The party newsletter, Freedom Flyer, was published on an occasional basis, and back copies are available online.
The Freedom Party has opposed government restrictions on free speech and freedom of expression throughout its existence, arguing that the state has no right to intervene except in cases of fraud, defamation, or the commission of crimes such as sex with children. Marc Emery frequently challenged Canada's censorship laws during his years as an FPO organizer, via the private bookstore he operated in London. He continued to do so after resigning from FPO in 1990.
The FPO took a civil libertarian stance on hate speech and the rights of individuals to express political opinions, whether those opinions are rational or irrational, unoffensive or offensive, popular or unpopular. In 1999, the London police wrote to Raphael Bergmann and Tyler Chilcott alleging that they were members of the Northern Alliance. The letter stated that, as they belonged to an "extreme right-wing" group they were "required" to report to the police to explain their opinions. The FPO's then leader, Lloyd Walker requested that Solicitor-General David Tsubouchi provide a list of "extreme" political beliefs that could result in such police action. No response was provided by the government, and nothing more came of the matter. here. Bergmann and Chilcott were never FPO members and the party did not support their views, simply their right to express them.
The party was partly restructured in 2002, when Oshawa lawyer Paul McKeever replaced Walker as party leader. McKeever argues that the FPO is now targeted toward building an electoral base and that a new organization, Freedom Party International, has taken on its prior advocacy role. FPI now publishes the former FPO journal, Consent.
The FPO promoted an electoral platform entitled "The Right Direction" for the 2003 election, arguing that with the PCs turning away from Mike Harris's Common Sense Revolution, the FPO was the only remaining party with "common sense".
On October 4, 2005, the FPO released its 2007 election platform. It focused on competition in health care and education, repealing price controls on electricity, the replacement of property taxes with consumption taxes, and the elimination of the provincial income tax.
Other Freedom parties
The FPO is affiliated with the Freedom Party of Canada (FPC), an unregistered political party which was founded by Paul McKeever and Robert Metz on July 20, 2001. It is also affiliated with Freedom Party International, which is not a political party but an organization founded to advocate and promote the party's philosophy, and to serve as the authority that must be consulted by any persons wishing to form an affiliated political party. FPO, FPC, FPUSA and FPI are not affiliated with the Freedom Party of British Columbia, the Freedom Party of Manitoba or other parties styled as "Freedom Party".
|Election year||No. of
- March 31, 1988 provincial by-election – London North, 548 votes (1.7%), fifth of six candidates
- November 3, 1988 provincial by-election – Welland—Thorold, 260 votes (0.9%), fourth of five candidates
- April 1, 1993 provincial by-election – Don Mills, 161 votes (0.9%), seventh of eight candidates
- November 24, 2005 provincial by-election – Scarborough—Rouge River, 59 votes (0.4%), sixth of six candidates.
- March 31, 2006 provincial by-elections:
- September 14, 2006 provincial by-election – Parkdale—High Park, 111 votes (0.4%), seventh of eight candidates
- September 6, 2012 provincial by-elections:
- August 1, 2013 provincial by-elections:
- Scarborough—Guildwood (Matthew Oliver), 80 votes (0.32%), ninth out of ten candidates
- Etobicoke—Lakeshore (Wayne Simmons), 57 votes (0.16%), last out of eight candidates
- Ottawa South (Dave McGruer), 85 votes (0.24%), eighth out of nine candidates
- Windsor—Tecumseh (Andrew Brannan), 124 votes (0.48%), last out of seven candidates
- London West (Al Gretzky), 1,838 votes (4.96%), fourth out of six candidates
- Robert Metz (1987–1994)
- Jack Plant (1994–1997)
- Lloyd Walker (1997–2002)
- Paul McKeever (2002–)
(Note: The party did not have an official leader from 1984 to 1987. Robert Metz was its president during this period. Lloyd Walker was initially chosen as leader on an interim basis.)
- List of Ontario general elections
- List of Ontario political parties
- List of libertarian political parties
- Freedom Party of Ontario candidates, 1995 Ontario provincial election
- Freedom Party of Ontario candidates, 2003 Ontario provincial election
- About Freedom Party of Ontario's Slogan (here Archived 2010-03-11 at the Wayback Machine)
- MacIntyre, Hugh (6 October 2011). "How libertarians should vote in today's provincial election". National Post. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- McKeever, Paul (17 September 2010). "Marc Emery, Civil Disobedience, and the Fate of the Cannabis Culture". Cannabis Culture. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- Hudson, Andrew (12 June 2011). "Two libertarians running in Beaches East-York". Cannabis Culture. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- Constitution of the Freedom Party of Ontario, section 3 ()
- Constitution of the Freedom Party of Ontario, section 6 ()
- 1984 Freedom Party promotional flyer "Maybe Politics" ()
- You Keep Asking, Now We Answer: Freedom Party versus Libertarian Party (December 20, 2012 Just Right radio broadcast on CHRW-FM featuring co-hosts Robert Metz (Freedom Party's president) and Paul McKeever (Freedom Party's leader) ()
- "The Principle of Pot" documentary by Paul McKeever ()
- Freedom Party of Ontario Archive ()
- Unparty founder Marilou Gutscher and Freedom Party founder Robert Metz explain the demise of Unparty and the founding of Freedom Party of Ontario, in "The Principle of Pot" documentary by Paul McKeever ()
- Annual report of the Chief Election Officer of Ontario for the year 2006 ()
- Freedom Party of Ontario Archive – London Metrobulletin issue #4 ()
- Freedom Party of Ontario Archive - "Freedom Flyer" newsletter issue #1 ()
- Freedom Party of Ontario Archive – 1984 "Maybe Politics" promotional flyer ()
- William Walker, "'Intolerance' blamed for Sunday law", Toronto Star, 26 February 1987, A4.
- David Helwig, "Garbage means votes, political party decides", Globe and Mail, 8 May 1987, N13 and Salem Alaton, "Canada Customs officials ship U.S. drug magazine back south", Globe and Mail, 1 November 1988.
- William Frampton, "GST makes us bigger slaves", Toronto Star, 21 March 1991, E4 and Diane Francis, "Cutting costs with Dutch clocks, sunset clauses", Financial Post, 29 September 1994, p. 15.
- Timothy Bloedow, "Human rights commission likened to Gestapo", Ottawa Times, December 1995 (referenced here) and Burt Dowsett, "Equity policy "racist, sexist," trustee says", London Free Press, 17 May 1995 (here)
- One of the VoC members to join the FPO was group chair Dick Field. The FPO endorsed the VOC's "Mark Me Canadian" drive in the 1996 national census. "'Mark me Canadian', says Voice of Canadians Committees", Freedom Flyer, March 1996.
- See also Paul Gallant, "Just because they're crazy doesn't mean they're powerless", Xtra!, 29 June 2000.
- The document is available online here Archived 2006-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.
- The document is available online here Archived 2006-12-08 at the Wayback Machine.