Socialist Party of Ontario

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Socialist Party of Ontario
Unregistered provincial party
Chairperson Michael Laxer
Spokesperson Natalie Lochwin, Jan Maxwell
Founded 2011 (2011)
Dissolved 2016 (2016)
Split from Ontario New Democratic Party
Ideology Democratic Socialism
Political position Left-wing
Colours Yellow, Red

The Socialist Party of Ontario (SPO) is an unregistered[1] political party in Ontario, Canada. SPO was founded in 2011 by political activists, trade unionists, community leaders, feminists and socialists, many of whom were former members of the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP). They decided to launch a new leftist party to challenge the NDP's shift to the centre of the political spectrum. Modelled after Québec solidaire and the United Left Alliance in Ireland, the party adopted the name of the historic Socialist Party of Canada, though maintained no connections to the former entity. The party fielded five candidates in the October 2011 Ontario general election and two candidates in the 2014 Ontario general election before becoming inactive and, by 2016, de-registered by the provincial elections authority.


On 28 May 2011, the Socialist Party of Ontario was formed at a founding convention in Toronto.[2] Its constitution and preliminary policy platform were voted on and passed, maintaining a socialist preamble in its constitution that was inspired by the Regina Manifesto of the defunct Co-operative Commonwealth Federation.[3] The Party had a collective leadership, with no single member functioning as the traditional "party leader".[4] In place of a leader, the party operated with two spokespeople, one male and one female,[3] and, at its founding, elected Jan Maxwell and Michael Laxer to these positions.[5] Laxer was named chair of the party executive to fulfill Elections Ontario's requirements to designate a "Leader" and a "President".[4] The party registered with Elections Ontario on September 13, 2011.[6]

The SPO nominated five candidates in the 2011 provincial election[7] Its first candidate, Dr. Ken Ranney, was nominated by the party to run in Peterborough on 31 August 2011.[8] Subsequently, the party nominated candidates in Etobicoke–Lakeshore, Leeds–Grenville, St. Paul's, and Trinity–Spadina.[7]

For the 2014 election, the SPO nominated two candidates, Andrea Quiano in Peterborough and Natalie Lochwin in Etobicoke—Lakeshore. For the election, the party nominated Lochwin to serve as spokesperson.[9] The party's share of the popular vote decreased and, overall, the SPO placed 19th out of the 21 parties and independents running in the election.

Following the 2014 provincial election, the party no longer updated its online presence and, by late 2016, was de-registered by Elections Ontario. The party's name was re-reserved with Elections Ontario in May 2016, but no efforts have been made to resurrect the party for the 2018 provincial election.[10]

Election results[edit]

Year of election # of candidates # of seats won # of votes % of popular vote
2011 5 0 519 0.01%
2014 2 0 368 0.01%

Source: Elections Ontario, Results Summary [11]


  1. ^ Elections Ontario (19 March 2017). "Registered Political Parties in Ontario". 
  2. ^ Bonnar, John (2011-03-18). "Founding convention for Socialist Party of Ontario to be held in May". Toronto. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  3. ^ a b SPO Convention (2011-05-28). "Constitution". Toronto: Socialist Party of Ontario. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  4. ^ a b Chief Electoral Officer (2011-09-15). "Registered Political Parties in Ontario". Candidates and Parties. Toronto: Elections Ontario. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  5. ^ SPO (2011). "Contact". Socialist Party of Ontario. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  6. ^ Elections Ontario Annual Report 2011/12, p.69
  7. ^ a b Chief Electoral Officer (2011-09-15). "Find your candidate". Candidates and Parties. Toronto: Elections Ontario. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  8. ^ Examiner Staff (2011-08-31). "Socialist party picks candidate for Oct. 6 election". The Peterborough Examiner. Peterborough, Ontario. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  9. ^ "Meet Your Socialist Candidate! Natalie Lochwin SPO Candidate for Etobicoke Lakeshore," Socialist Party of Ontario, Saturday, May 24, 2014.
  10. ^ Reserved Political Party Names in Ontario as of October 27, 2016, Elections Ontario, [retrieved March 19, 2017]
  11. ^ of Valid Ballots Cast.pdf

External links[edit]