New Reform Party of Ontario

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New Reform Party of Ontario
Leader James Gault
President Lynne Scime
Founded 1987 (1987)
Headquarters Hamilton, Ontario
Ideology Social conservatism, Localism
Colours Blue, Green
Seats in Legislature
0 / 107
Website
newreform.ca
Politics of Ontario
Political parties
Elections

The New Reform Party of Ontario is a small political party in Ontario, Canada that promotes a socially conservative ideology. It was formed in 1987 as the Family Coalition Party of Ontario (FCP)[1] by members of the pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and has fielded candidates in every provincial election since then. James Gault is the current leader. None of its candidates have ever been elected to the Ontario Legislature.

History[edit]

Logo of the Family Coalition Party prior to the 2015 renaming

The first leader of the Family Coalition 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 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 and filled the role until January 2014.[2]

Eric Ames held the post of Interim Leader from January to November 2014 when James Gault was acclaimed at the Annual Business Meeting.

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 provincial election. In those 83 ridings, it obtained 1.045% of the votes, or 0.82% province-wide.

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 provincial election, the FCP worked on local advocacy campaigns around the province, most notably involving the challenge of the controversial[3] Bill 13 anti-bullying legislation [4] 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.[5][6] The FCP stated in 2014 that it intends to become more active and visible between elections, to better represent what it calls the “traditional-principled” electorate in Ontario.[7]

The party changed its name to the New Reform Party of Ontario in 2015.[1]

Ideology[edit]

New Reform'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",[8] 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. New Reform 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, New Reform favours options for families to choose the form of education that best suits their values and needs,[9] and the protection of parental values in the school setting.

The party's policies on other matters are generally conservative, although not universally so. New Reform 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". New Reform 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.

New Reform also supports voter recall, referenda and electoral financing reform.

Election results[edit]

Year of election # of candidates # of seats won # of votes % of popular vote
1987 36 0 48,110 1.3%
1990 68 0 110,831 2.7%
1995 55 0 61,657 1.5%
1999 37 0 24,216 0.6%
2003 51 0 34,623 0.8%
2007 83 0 35,763 0.8%
2011 31 0 9,861 0.23%

Party leaders[edit]

Donald Pennell (1987-1997)[edit]

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 began as a political extension of Campaign Life, an anti-abortion organization based in Ontario. Pennell was chosen as the FCP's first interim leader, and then 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 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. Torsney had worked as a volunteer on Pennell's 1975 campaign.

He remained an advisor to the 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 Centre, 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)[edit]

Giuseppe Gori is a businessman and a politician in Ontario. From 1997 to 2009,[citation needed] he was the leader of the Family Coalition Party.[10] 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.

Electoral record[edit]

(See Elections Ontario results at: http://www.elections.on.ca/en-CA/Tools/PastResults.htm)

Phil Lees (2009-2014)[edit]

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 grassroots 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.[12]

Eric Ames (2014) (interim)[edit]

Eric Ames is a former educator and communications professional and had served since 2001 as the FCP Communications Director.

James Gault (2014 - present)[edit]

James Gault ran for the FCP in the 1995 election and now is the party leader.

Election candidates[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]