Monthly Archives: October 2008

Toronto elections – Candidates are supposed to be independent

Well at least in theory.

Click here for a gathering of Independents.

Can Toronto Mayor David Miller be beaten in 2010?

“One insider points to the centre and right teaming up to run a slate of candidates — not a party system, but a group called “Vision for Toronto,” or something like that.

Those people, led by their candidate for mayor, would actually have to have a vision for Toronto, opposed to the NDP agenda, something that would pin Miller into a corner and that could be credibly sold to the public as real change”

For the complete article see:

To continue the Miller story see Rob Granatstein:

Running for the right – The Group Opposing Miller mulls a leadership convention to pick its contender

“The encouraging news out of City Hall is the GOM (Group Opposing Miller) have come to the real world conclusion only one person can run against Mayor David Miller in the 2010 election.

Then it gets interesting.

How do you decide who has the best shot at knocking off the boss?

The answer the GOM is working on may shock you — a leadership convention.

“We’ll throw confetti, we’ll give speeches,” said Coun. Karen Stintz, a viable contender for the role of hopeful-for-mayor.

She compared it to a Churchill moment, make the speech of your life, get your fellow councillors and the residents of the city on side, then run at the mayor.

Intriguing. That said, a convention, like political parties throw, is far from a sure thing.

There are huge issues to resolve. How do you pay for it when candidates can’t spend any money on their campaigns until Jan. 1, 2010, and this would all have to happen in the fall of 2009 at the latest?”

To continue and read the complete article see:

Nunavut – No Political Parties – Consensus Government

Today Nunavut goes to the polls. What is fascinating about Nunavut is that is has no political parties. It is a “consensus government.”

“Nunavut will have no political parties at the territorial level. Instead, the legislative assembly of the new territory will operate on the basis of consensus politics. Like the aboriginal decision-making system it mimics, the legislative assembly’s decisions will be made according to the consensus of the majority of its members rather than political party lines. Political parties exist in Nunavut only for the purposes of supporting candidates running in federal elections.”

All candidates are Independents. Nunavut seems to run well. Why do we need parties in the rest of Canada?

Independents – The Way Of The Future

Independents Are The Way Of The Future!

Garth Turner On Political Parties and Independents

When Garth Turner was ousted from the Conservative party he became an Independent. Had he remained an Independent, he might well have been re-elected. In a previous post I noted that the “floor crossers” lost.

In his blog, Mr Turner shares his views on party politics as follows:

“In my coming book, I summarize it this way:

While parties are central to how we run countries, it is less so each day. The Internet has the power to turn unknowns into leaders and involve citizens whom partisan recruiters, organizers and militants will never meet. A blog can alter political outcomes, while web sites reach millions when media outlets are still editing. Politicians who open digital conversations make the future impossible for those who do not. One or two more federal elections, and the traditionalists will be gone.

Parties may follow. They’ll certainly be transformed. Online members will be harder to control, and more responsive to voters. Ridings will melt away in the digital ascent of issues over geography. And if dozens of independents are ever to take their seats in the House of Commons, it will be because of this. Funded, promoted and elected through web-based campaigns, they will skirt the rules of a political establishment which abhors them.

Experience has convinced me this is what many Canadians want. Parties and leaders who demand unquestioning acceptance of dogmatic positions are doomed. No one, not even a prime minister, can put this back in the bottle.”

Read the complete post at:

Don’t Cross The Floor – You Will NOT Be Re-elected

October 14, 208 – Floor Crossers Not Re-elected

I wrote an earlier post about “Crossing The Floor”. It’s worth checking in to exactly how some of those “floor crossers” fared on October 14, 2008.

Although the election of October 24 2008 was a boring affair, those who “cross the floor” should take note. It would appear that not a single person who was:

– elected as member of one party
– and then crossed the floor to become a member of another party was elected in the October 14/08 election.

Let’s have a look at them (in no particular order).

Blair Wilson

Mr. Wilson was elected as a Liberal in 2006. It was reported that he then resigned from the Liberal Party (after an Elections Canada probe into his election expenses). He then became an Independent (where he should have stayed). He then joined the Green Party and made history by becoming the first “Green Party” MP in Canada. In any case, Mr. Wilson was NOT re-elected.

Moral of the story: If you run under the banner of one party, you should not join another party.

Garth Turner

Mr. Turner was elected as a Conservative in 2006. He was subsequently “turfed” from the Party. After sitting as an Independent he joined the Liberal Party. He lost to the conservative candidate (who was yet another conservative candidate who was installed over the wishes of the local riding association).

Moral of the story: If you run under the banner of one party, you should not join another party.

Wajid Khan

Mr. Khan was elected as a Liberal in 2006. He then crossed the floor and sat as a Conservative. He was soundly beaten by the Liberal Candidate on October 14, 2008.

Moral of the story: If you run under the banner of one party, you should not join another party.

Mr. Khan’s “floor crossing” may have inspired the following two independent candidates:

– Ralph Bunag; and

Viktor Spanovic.

Possible Exception: Belinda Stronach – but she did have a bit of financial influence in Aurora.

Independent Candidate John Richardson – Interview – Why Independent Candidates Matter

Independent Candidate – John Richardson – Toronto Danforth – October 6, 2008

Why Independent Candidates Matter

Interview for

Independents face long odds on October 14

“Long odds

Regardless of their background or track record, independent candidates don’t have history on their side. Only three independent candidates have been elected since 1997 in general elections. In 2006, only one independent out of 90 claimed victory.

That sole winner, André Arthur, is back again this year seeking re-election in the riding of Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier southwest of Quebec City.

The radio broadcaster, dubbed “King Arthur,” was a surprise winner in the last election.

This time around, the Conservatives aren’t even running a candidate against him, likely due to the fact that he tended to support the government more often than not.”

For the complete article:

Paul Barnes – Belleville area Independent – Writes about …

the difficulty of running as an Independent.

This is one more reason why the small numbers who ran as Independents in this election deserve special thanks for helping our democracy. The fact is that as an Independent, in a party dominated world, you have to do everything yourself and it is hard to get the respect you so richly deserve. Have a look at Paul Barnes’s blog where he lists his difficulties in getting media attention.  The Belleville Intelligencer ran a nice piece of Mr. Barnes where he was quoted as saying:

“Whenever a candidate runs under the banner of a party it means, if elected, that person is supposed to represent both their constituents and their party’s best interests, Barnes said. That ties the hands of an MP but the Marmora resident wants to represent the local riding free of restrictions”

Best of luck to Mr. Barnes on October 14!

David Marler – One of the most important independents in Canada

As we reach election day, it is important to recognize the contributions of all independent candidates. Through their independence, each and ever one of them has demonstrated why Independent candidates are important throughout the country. We wish each of them the best on election day.

That, said it is important to recognize the very special contribution of Independent candidate David Marler.

According to Mr. Marler:

“My entry into the race has been designed to promote the notion that we must vote for the most capable candidate, whoever one considers that to be, and one who undertakes, first and foremost, to represent the people of the riding. That is the way it is supposed to be. That is the way that it was. That is the way to which we must return.”

In commenting on the problems with the parties and party candidates Mr. Marler notes that:

“We have witnessed over the last number of decades an astonishing series of scandals emanating from the political culture of Ottawa. It seems that we just get over one when another emerges. The Liberals and Conservatives take delight in exposing the nefarious activities of the other and each seeks to gain political mileage thereby. However, the reality is simply the pot calling the kettle black. The truth is that there is something rotten in the state. Why is this so and what can be done about it?

The “why is this so” results, in my view, not from an inherent dishonesty in the individual Canadian person nor in those who aspire to be our politicians. Certainly, there are individuals in the country who are prone to seeking their objectives by less than ethical means. However, the vast majority of Canadians and politicians are decent and honourable people. The problem is that when they get to Ottawa as members of either of the two established parties, they find, unless they wish to climb the slippery slope of political opportunism, they are merely the foot soldiers of forces run from behind closed doors, in back rooms and by people who were not elected to office, the very existence of whom is largely unknown. These are the people who operate in the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) or the OLO (Office of the Leader of the Opposition). Surely such a system is in contradiction to what is intended. Surely what is intended is that each district in the country send to Ottawa its brightest and its best so that they might deliberate with intellectual integrity on what is in the interests of Canada as a whole.

The origins of the Canadian parliamentary system can be traced to the establishment of parliament in Great Britain in the thirteenth century when the common people, hence the “House of Commons”, were given certain powers over the dictatorial rights of the monarch. Nonetheless, well into the nineteenth century it was still the monarch who chose the Prime Minister, who was not necessarily a member of the House of Commons, and who chose the executive branch of the government, i.e. those people who we now call cabinet ministers, who, again, were not necessarily members of the House of Commons. However, to secure and maintain power it became apparent to the appointees of the monarch that they would be more successful were they able to organize a following of some permanency in the House of Commons. Thus we became accustomed to two principal political parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals, the members of which slavishly followed the policies dictated to them by their leaders.

This is the situation which we have today and the reason why those elected to the House of Commons in Canada are simply the “yes people” of the leader of their party. The result is that people popularly describe the party by the name of its leader, with the local representative being nothing more than his/her porte-parole. This makes the Prime Minister, in the Canadian political context, more powerful than the President in the American context. The latter must submit draft legislation to a distinct and autonomous body, Congress. In Canada, a prime minister enjoying a majority submits proposed legislation to the House of Commons confident that every member of the ruling majority will vote for its passage.

Thus, if we the people, who are the only ones with the vote, do not exercise it so as to send to Ottawa our best people, then we are hardly in a position to complain when our politicians behave in a manner of which we disapprove.”

In addition, make sure that you read Mr. Marler’s book which is available as a free download at:

See also this earlier post about Mr. Marler.