Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another Case For Uniting Ontario's Right

Ontario PCs and Reform Party dupilicating efforts

Led by Brad Harness, the Reform Party of Ontario has declared its intent to revive the Reform Party as a provincial force in the province of Ontario.

Whenever Ontario holds its next election, Harness and the Reform Party want to run candidates in half of Ontario's ridings, and be a major player in a handful.

“We want to make a real impact in 15 to 20 ridings,” Harness insists.

But the problem for Harness is that the Progressive Conservative Party Ontario is already championing many of the definitive causes of the Reform Party.

Under the guidance of MPP Steve Clark, the Tim Hudak-led Ontario Tories will explore options such as electoral recall and veto referendum legislation, to be enacted upon winning government in a future election.

“Clearly, we need to have stronger tools to put in the hands of Ontario families,” Hudak said. “I do like the notion of citizen-initiated referendum... It is an essential check on governments who often grow too arrogant and out of touch while in office.”

Clark plans to begin by exploring the kinds of options already available in BC and the US. He said his constituents are particularly aware of the options offered in BC, where a provincial legislator can be recalled after 18 months in office.

“A number of them have talked to me and emailed me since talking about what’s happening in BC and why can’t we have some citizen-led process in Ontario,” Clark explained.

In BC, petitions to remove an MLA are subject to approval by the Chief Electoral Officer. Any canvassers must be registered with Elections BC.

If Brad Harness and the Reform Party of Ontario are really serious about advancing the old Reform Party agenda, one would suggest they would be much better off by joining the efforts of the party best situated to advance that agenda -- and, indeed, has already embraced it.

Until they do, they'll simply be splitting the vote between PC and Reform candidates, for a best case scneario in which the Progressive Conservatives and a small caucus of Reform MPPs effectively duplicate each other's efforts.

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