Catholic Social and Political Activism


Note to Ontario Voters – Support a Fringe Party
written by Pete Vere
September 8th 2003
Commenting on the Fox News Channel about swing voters, Ann Coulter once remarked,

"I like to refer to them as the ‘idiot voters’ because they don't have set philosophical principles. You're either a liberal or you're a conservative if you have an IQ above a toaster."

While I usually appreciate Miss Coulter’s soundbytes, this particular one would not go over well in Canada’s multi-party system, where one is often tempted to vote for the toaster. Simply put, some Canadian voters may be principled, but Canada’s political parties are not. Thus, for a Canadian voter to remain true to his conservative convictions, he must often wade through multiple major parties playing "musical platforms".

This is the problem with the upcoming provincial election in Ontario. None of the three major parties appeal to my social or fiscal conservatism. Beginning with the incumbent, Ernie Eves suffers from the common Progressive Conservative Party illness so eloquently diagnosed by Lady Thatcher – he emphasizes the adjective over the noun. Morally, not only has he fudged the same-sex marriage issue, but he also cohabitates with a woman who is not his wife. He is somewhat more conservative fiscally, but nowhere near as conservative as his predecessor. Thus, in many ways Mr. Eves reminds me of the 1996 presidential election – he combines the morality of Bill Clinton with the fiscal policy and charisma of Bob Dole.

Howard Hampton is leader of the provincial New Democratic Party. The NDP are Canada’s official socialist party. I like ‘Howie’ – in terms of personality, he strikes me as a political version of Grimace from the McDonald's commercials I remember watching as a child. Unlike the other candidates, Howie is honest, jovial, and sincerely seeks to serve others through the political process, provided they are not children in the womb. –Which is why I cannot vote for him. He believes in his party’s platform, which falls somewhere to the left of Jesse Jackson. Ironically, the NDP party colors are orange and green. Most Canadians also associate these colors with Halloween. This is ironic given that the last time the NDP formed the provincial government, Ontario was stuck with a fiscal nightmare of Gray Davis proportions while the socialists handed out treats to their ghoulish, politically correct constituents at the taxpayers’ expense.

Finally, there is Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty. I miss his father. The senior McGuinty was a man of principle who remained faithful to his Catholic faith until his untimely death while serving in office. McGuinty’s father very much reminded me of Bob Casey, the former Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania. Rather than compromise his Catholic convictions, the pro-life Governor endured Bill Clinton’s snub during the 1992 presidential campaign. Unfortunately, McGuinty senior’s snubbing came posthumously from his son. When the younger McGuinty took over his father’s seat, he jettisoned his father’s moral and political legacy. Canadian social conservatives are still divided over whether the junior McGuinty did so because he never outgrew his teenage rebellion, or whether he simply lacked the backbone of a paralyzed squid.

Nevertheless, from abortion to same-sex marriage, McGuinty unequivocally favors every social scourge that his father opposed. Yet it is difficult to compare the junior McGuinty to any American politician -- in my opinion he comes across as too effeminate for Janet Reno, and calling him a Kennedy Catholic would concede too much orthodoxy. If I were a Casey Democrat, however, I would likely vote for Al Sharpton over McGuinty in the primaries.

Fortunately, Canada’s electoral system differs from its American counterpart in one important respect. In Canada, a party leader must hold a seat in the legislature. According to most recent polls, McGuinty stands to become the next Premier of Ontario – provided he holds his seat in Ottawa-South. Having accepted the Family Coalition Party (FCP) nomination in this electoral riding, John Pacheco hopes to put up a tough challenge. My regular readers will no doubt recognize John as an occasional Ottawa correspondent for various American publications for which I write, as well as an outspoken defender of the traditional definition of marriage. This is the second time John has braved the liberal media to accept the FCP nomination.

The FCP was founded after Ontario’s three major parties abdicated their responsibility to preserve social morals. Currently, the FCP is Ontario’s only pro-life party. "The family has an important and necessary role in protecting and nurturing life," states the FCP’s party platform. "This role makes the family, rather than the individual, the basic building block of our society. When families are strong and prosperous, democracy and economic enterprise flourish. Strong families lessen problems in many areas of society; e.g.: marital separations, child abuse, teenage rebellion leading to alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, runaways, school drop-outs, vandalism, theft and violence." In previous elections, the FCP has polled between 1 and 2 percent of the vote – which places it well at the forefront of fourth parties in Ontario. Yet with same-sex marriage still fresh in the minds of many voters, the FCP could break into major party status by winning a couple of seats this election.

As a native of Canada’s capital, I pray that one of these seats is in Ottawa-South. For as John Pacheco remarks concerning the current incumbent, "Dalton supports same-sex marriage. This means that Dalton will end up supporting any definition of marriage that is presented before him...If Dalton thinks that same-sex ‘marriage’ is a non-issue, he’s in for an unpleasant surprise on election day. I'm very glad that I'm not going door-to-door supporting gay 'marriage' in the ethnic and religious communities." John then points out that the FCP is the only political party willing to use the constitutional "notwithstanding clause" to prevent an activist judiciary from imposing same-sex marriage on Ontario citizens.

In this respect, John’s words are no less blunt when it comes to the Progressive Conservative Party: "The Progressive Conservative Party [must] wake up to the political realities of devastating social legislation. The political establishment in this province, and indeed in the country, has to realize that it will pay a steep political price for ignoring social conservatives..."

The FCP is a party whose time has come. Hopefully, social and religious conservatives in Ontario will wake up to the fact we cannot win the culture war through the three major parties. One need only examine the private lives of the major party leaders; these men do not share our traditional values. And as John recently reminded his campaign supporters, "We believe that personal integrity impacts how a politician conducts himself in public life, and that each politician must not compromise his own personal integrity to get elected."

Pete Vere is a religious and social commentator from Sudbury, Ontario. He has published numerous pieces in a variety of North American publications. He presently resides in Sarasota, Florida, where he enjoys good weather, no state income tax, and First Amendment protection.