- Family Coalition Party of Ontario
Family Coalition Party of Ontario
Active provincial party
Leader Phil Lees President Lynne Scime Founded 1987 Headquarters Toronto, Ontario Ideology Social conservatism Official colours Puce Website www.familycoalitionparty.com Politics of Ontario
The Family Coalition Party is a small political party in Ontario, Canada that promotes a socially conservative ideology. It was formed in 1987 by members of the pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and has fielded candidates in every provincial election since then. It is led by Phil Lees, a Hamilton school teacher and university instructor.
The first leader of the party was Donald Pennell, who was previously a candidate for the Ontario Liberal Party in the 1975 provincial election. He served as FCP leader from 1987 to 1997. Pennell subsequently campaigned for the Canadian Alliance in the 2000 federal election.
Pennell was replaced by Giuseppe Gori, who led the party from 1997 to October 2009. A leadership convention was held in Hamilton on October 24, 2009, to elect a new leader. Phil Lees was the only candidate for the leadership registered.
The Family Coalition Party's strongest showing to date was in the 1990 provincial election, when it received over 100,000 votes. In 1990 several candidates received over 10% of the popular vote (the best was 13%) but the party ran only 76 candidates. Its support declined in the 1995 and 1999 elections, followed by a modest recovery in 2003 when it ran in 51 out of 103 ridings. The party has announced its intention to field candidates in every riding for the 2007 election, however, it nominated 83 candidates in the 107 ridings. In those 83 ridings, it obtained 1.045% of the votes, or 0.82% province-wide. None of its candidates have ever been elected to the Ontario legislature.
During the 1999 election, the party achieved a limited media attention by conducting a demonstration at Queen's Park featuring three "cloned sheep" to represent Progressive Conservative leader Mike Harris, Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty and New Democratic Party leader Howard Hampton. The FCP's intent was both to indicate their opposition to cloning technology, and to suggest that the major parties were identical in ignoring family issues.
The FCP's principles include respect for life, freedom and ownership of property. They emphasize "the family, rather than the individual" as the "basic building block of our society". It argues that parents have an "inalienable right and duty to educate, discipline and care for their children", and asserts that the promotion of stronger family units will result in reduced social problems involving crime and drug addiction. The party's emphasis on the family unit favours heterosexual married couples: it opposes spousal benefits for both same-sex couples and common-law heterosexual couples. The FCP supports increasing personal and spousal tax exemption, as well as providing assistance to single mothers who choose to carry a pregnancy to term. It also recognizes "the work of mothers in the nurturing of children", and supports increased tax benefits for stay-at-home parents. On education, the FCP favours the introduction of vouchers, and what it describes as a "healthy competition among schools".
The party's policies on other matters are generally conservative, although not universally so. The FCP supports a reduction in the size of government, as well as "the long-term removal of all measures that insulate industries, businesses, financial institutions, professions and trade unions from domestic and foreign competition". It also favours reconsidering legislation on pay equity, employment equity and labour relations, and the eventual removal of universal federal programs. The FCP recognizes that the government has a role to play in issues relating to environmental management, and ensuring access to health services regardless of ability to pay.
The party also favours electoral reform, and supports "a more proportional system of representation" for general elections. Some leading figures in the party support a Mixed Member Proportional model, similar to the system used in countries such as Germany and Italy, to provide greater representation to smaller parties. This system was recommended by the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform, and there was a provincial referendum on it in the 2007 Ontario election. The FCP also supports voter recall, referenda and electoral financing reform.
In recent years, the party has become more known for its opposition to same-sex marriage and increased benefits for same-sex couples. It opposes same-sex marriage, and seeks the revocation of all legislation interpreting the word "spouse" to include same-sex couples. Most prominent links on the party's homepage in April 2006 addressed aspects of the marriage issue.
Many of the Family Coalition Party's principles and policies are also supported by the federal Christian Heritage Party of Canada, and some FCP candidates have campaigned for the CHP at the federal level. Although these groups hold similar positions on abortion and same-sex marriage, they hold opposing views on other issues such as capital punishment and (in some cases) corporal punishment.
Year of election # of candidates # of seats won # of votes % of popular vote 1987 36 0 48,110 1.3% 1990 68 0 110,831 2.7% 1995 55 0 61,657 1.5% 1999 37 0 24,216 0.6% 2003 51 0 34,623 0.8% 2007 83 0 35,763 0.8%
Donald Pennell (1987-1997)
Donald Pennell is a political and religious activist in Ontario, Canada. He was the first leader of the Family Coalition Party, and has campaigned for political office on many occasions.
He first ran for political office in the 1975 Ontario provincial election, as a Liberal Party candidate in Burlington South. He lost to Progressive Conservative incumbent George Albert Kerr by just under 6,000 votes.
Pennell was a leading figure in founding the Family Coalition Party in 1987. This group was initially a political extension of Campaign Life, an anti-abortion organization based in Ontario. Pennell was chosen as the FCP's first interim leader, and subsequently as its first full-time leader. In addition to promoting a pro-life position on abortion, the FCP also promoted socially conservative views on other issues. In 1987, for instance, Pennell told a Toronto Star reporter that homosexuality was "against God's law". Pennell, who was 49 years old at the time of this election, argued that voters were being called to make a choice between "Christ and barbarism".
Pennell ran in Burlington South in the 1987 Ontario election, and placed a distant fourth with 1,125 votes. He ran in the same riding in the 1990 election, and received 1,707 votes amid a minor increase in support for his party. He also contested a 1992 by-election in Brant—Haldimand, and received 2,056 votes.
In the 1995 provincial election, Pennell ran against sitting Ontario Premier Bob Rae in the Toronto riding of York South. The result was the worst of his career. Pennell received only 305 votes, for a very distant fourth place finish. He stepped down as leader of the Family Coalition Party in 1997, and was replaced by Giuseppe Gori.
In the 2000 federal election, Pennell ran as a candidate of the Canadian Alliance in Burlington. Some political observers expressed surprise that the former leader of a minor provincial party would be allowed to stand for Canada's official opposition. Pennell received a career high of 11,500 votes, but still finished almost 11,000 votes behind the winner, Liberal incumbent Paddy Torsney. Ironically, Torsney had worked as a volunteer on Pennell's 1975 campaign.
He remained an advisor to the Family Coalition Party after 1997, and helped select the party's candidates for the 1999 provincial election.
Pennell is also involved in a number of conservative Roman Catholic organizations. He now lives in Vineland, Ontario, and works as the communications and public relations director of The Fatima Center, a devotional group based around the miracles said to have occurred near Fátima, Portugal in the early twentieth century. In 2004, Pennell criticized a Hindu group for conducting a devotional service on the shrine grounds.
Giuseppe Gori (1997-2009)
Giuseppe Gori is a business man and a politician in Ontario, Canada. From 1997 to 2009, he was the leader of the Family Coalition Party, a socially conservative political party in Ontario. Gori has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pisa in Italy (1973). He worked as an Assistant Professor at Pisa for three years, and has also been a visiting professor at the University of Western Ontario. In the 1980's Gori has held positions at IBM, Canada Systems Group and Geac Computer Corporation.
Gori replaced Donald Pennell as leader of the FCP in 1997. Gori did not run in the October 2009 Leadership election to dedicate more time to his manufacturing business. In that election (October 2009) Phil Lees was elected leader of the Family Coalition Party.
Like other members of his party, he is pro-life (from conception to natural death) and supports what he describes as "traditional family values". Gori is also a supporter of a more proportional system of representation (Mixed Member Proportional).
(See Elections Ontario results at: http://www.elections.on.ca/en-CA/Tools/PastResults.htm)
- Ontario general election, 1990, Halton North, 2,489 votes, or 9.2% (winning candidate: Noel Duignan, New Democratic Party)
- Ontario general election, 1995, York Centre, 1,891 votes (winning candidate: Al Palladini, Progressive Conservative)
- Ontario general election, 1999, Halton, 755 votes (winning candidate: Ted Chudleigh, Progressive Conservative)
- Ontario general election, 2003, Halton, 1,123 votes (winning candidate: Ted Chudleigh, Progressive Conservative)
- Ontario general election, 2007, Wellington - Halton Hills (electoral district), 559 votes (1.3% (winning candidate: Ted Arnott, Progressive Conservative)
Phil Lees (2009-present)
Lees is an educator by profession. During the couse of his career he became cognizant of what he describes as a "radical change in values being encouraged by the teachers union." He became involved in grass roots activism following a disturbing incident with his own child. Her 5th grade class had been shown a film titled "Head Full of Questions." This film depicted adult sexual intercouse and provided an understanding of homosexuality. He founded a group called the Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council to address the issues at local schools. A few years later he ran for office in the 1999 election.
- Family Coalition Party of Ontario candidates, 1990 Ontario provincial election
- Family Coalition Party of Ontario candidates, 1995 Ontario provincial election
- Family Coalition Party candidates, 2003 Ontario provincial election
- Family Coalition Party of Ontario candidates, 2007 Ontario provincial election
- ^ Family Coalition Party Biography of Phil Lees
- ^ Elections Ontario
- ^ 
- ^ Deborah Gyapong (17 September, 2007). "Referendum on changing voting system divides pro-lifers". Canadian Catholic News. http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=25377. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- ^ Tallyn, Lisa (2011 [last update]). "Longtime Conservative rolls to easy victory in Wellington-Halton". Inside Halton. http://www.insidehalton.com/news/article/539034--longtime-conservative-rolls-to-easy-victory-in-wellington-halton. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- ^ http://www.theinterim.com/features/q-a-with-fcp-leader-phil-lees
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