National Citizens Coalition
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Incorporated in Ontario in 1975, the NCC was founded by insurance agent Colin M. Brown, who had begun an advertising campaign in 1967 against what he perceived as excessive government spending. Brown was vehemently opposed to public health insurance, although the NCC is now reluctant to take such a stand on this issue, as it would be unpopular with the electorate. The NCC would go on in subsequent years to campaign against "socialized medicine" and other government programs. The NCC has supported privatization, tax cuts and government spending cuts; it also opposes electoral laws that limit third-party spending. It has been heavily involved in advertising, political campaigns and legal challenges in support of its goals of "more freedom through less government."
The NCC claims a membership of between 40,000 to 45,000 individuals, but has not released members' names. Stephen Harper, the current Prime Minister of Canada, served as President of the organization from 1998 to 2002.
The NCC holds no annual general membership meetings and provides no financial statements to its members. The organization's constitution distinguishes between 'voting' and 'public' members. Public members pay dues but do not have formal mechanisms for influencing the organization's policies or priorities. Public members are not entitled to be notified of or to attend any meetings, and they are not entitled to vote at any such meetings.
It is headquartered in Toronto and reports an annual budget of $2.8 million. The organization has fought to keep information about itself confidential, and opposed amendments to the Canada Elections Act that would have required third-party organizations like the NCC to publish the names of all contributors donating more than $250.
During its almost four decades of existence, the NCC has campaigned against:
- the Canada Health Act,
- the Canadian Wheat Board,
- the general strike organized by the Canadian Labour Congress against wage and price controls imposed by the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau in 1975
- the admittance of Vietnamese boat people (post-Vietnam War refugees) to Canada in 1979-1980
- closed-shop unions
- the so-called "gold-plated" pension plan for Members of Parliament
- real or perceived government waste in general
- the mandatory long-form census
- Quebec's Charter of the French Language (Bill 101)
The NCC founded and funded Ontarians for Responsible Government, a lobby group that played a large role in electing the Progressive Conservative Harris government in Ontario of 1995-2003. It has also legally challenged electoral financing laws limiting third-party advertising spending during election campaigns, but unsuccessfully, in Harper v. Canada (Attorney General).
- 1967 – National Citizens' Coalition founded by Colin M. Brown.
- 1987 – David Somerville takes over leadership.
- 1993 – The NCC successfully supports Stephen Harper's bid to become a Reform Party Member of Parliament for Calgary West.
- 1997 – Harper resigns as Member of Parliament to join the NCC.
- 1997 – Stephen Harper becomes Vice-President of the NCC.
- 1998 – Stephen Harper becomes President of the NCC, Gerry Nicholls becomes Vice-President.
- 2002 – Stephen Harper resigns as President of the NCC to seek the leadership of the Canadian Alliance.
- 2003 – Peter Coleman joins the NCC full-time as Chief Operating Officer.
- 2006 – Peter Coleman is promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC.
- Murray Dobbin, The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 2003). 197-206.
- 1967 - The Ad that Started it All. National Citizens Coalition - Heritage. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- National Citizens Coalition (NCC) – Harper's presidency was a critical period. The Harper Index, 11 May 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- The National Citizens Coalition Celebrates 40 Years and Looks Ahead to the Future. (Coleman, Peter) National Citizens Coalition, 14 December 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Thompson, Elizabeth. "MPs call on Stephen Harper to clarify stand on Bill 101".