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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why Fringe Parties Will Remain Fringe Parties

If the current Ontario election has taught me anything, it’s that fringe parties like to whine that they’re not receiving coverage, but then fail to articulate why they should be elected as a Member of Ontario’s Parliament.

In the rhetoric leading to the May 2011 federal election, we heard complaints from the Green Party that they were being excluded from the leaders’ debates.  Elizabeth May wanted to be included too, they said, and the response was simple: get someone elected carrying your banner, and then you’ll be publicized.

It seems simple and straightforward: media time is pricey and there is only so much political capital to go around.  Elizabeth May met her challenge and the Green Party focused a vast majority of their efforts in getting her elected in Sanich-Gulf Islands.  Now that she’s a Member of Parliament, it follows that her party will be rewarded by allowing her to attend the next leaders’ debate for the next election.

Now we’re hearing the same complaints from the Ontario Green Party, complaining that their leader is being excluded.

Although the Green Party would probably object, they currently sit as a fringe party in Ontario.  They sit as just one of 21 currently registered political parties in Ontario, next to the “People’s Political Party” and the “Paramount Canadians Party.”

Breaking onto the political scene with a new party is a bold and difficult move. And it should be. You are, after all, running a party that seeks to form the government, or at least influence its policies while sitting in Opposition.

Fringe parties will remain fringe parties not because they’re being ignored, but because they’re underfunded, disorganized, and cannot offer a viable alternative to the current three parties.

Let’s take a look at a few in Ontario, and there’s no shortage of them.

The People’s Political Party is based out of Toronto and is currently running four candidates, all in the Toronto area.  They also have another two candidates “awaiting confirmation” even though the Elections Ontario deadline has passed.  Here’s their leader, clearly a professional politician seeking change in Ontario:

(September 18, 2011 from http://www.peoplespoliticalparty.com/)

Leader Kevin Clarke, pictured middle, is the author of several intelligent, thought-provoking discussions such as “talking about dog shit” and “fighting abuse, just for laughs,” which are featured on the party’s website.  He’s also a self-described ex-convict and former drug dealer.

What is their platform, you ask?  Why, it’s simple, apparently.  But not really.  Their broken sentences make vague promises such as “burdens will be reduced” and “law and justice for all.”  With facts like these, it’s no wonder why the People’s Political Party isn’t forming government right now.

Next let’s turn to the Paramount Canadians Party.  This party appears to be based out of someone’s personal residence.  And while they don’t have a full platform, they promise to “reduce auto insurance” and cap future insurance prices, “ensure seniors lead happy [sic] life,” “appropriate environment to youth [sic]”, and “make immigration responsible to provincial [sic].”  If you could read through that horrible spelling and grammar, you’d realize their real promises are to interfere in the market, raise taxes, and steal responsibilities from the federal government.

And, just for a few more laughs, let’s consider the Vegan Environmental Party, headquartered at the President’s apartment in Toronto.  There’s no website let alone a platform, so we have no idea what they stand for or what they would hope to accomplish.  But judging by their name alone, they’re another fanatical left wing group bent on giving trees rights and curbing human’s consumption of anything that isn’t green and growing in dirt.

Their leader, Paul Figueiras, is a well known fanatical left-winger, as he reported an officer during the G20 for sarcastically telling him that he wasn’t in Canada.  If you want a political party that will challenge authority and troll police officers keeping international dignitaries safe, the VEP is for you!

Five of the 21 registered parties don’t even have a website, which goes to say they’re too disorganized or too afraid to publicly post their platform or candidates.

Seriously.  These are the parties complaining that they don’t receive the same attention as the Progressive Conservatives, Liberals, or NDP, and yet they’re based out of members’ personal homes, have no clear platform (if they have a platform if at all), and their leaders are self-described former drug dealers.  Is it any wonder why they’re not taken seriously?

Ontario voters have a clear choice on October 6: left, centre, or right.  These joke parties with no platform and no plan simply do not compete with stable parties with ample funding, solid leaders, and good plans for Ontarians.

These fringe parties will remain fringe parties for as long as they continue to operate this way.