By John Miner
Free Press Reporter
Lloyd Walker will openly tell you he doesn't have much chance of winning London-Fanshawe riding on June 3.
But getting the most votes isn't the most important thing to the leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario.
It's not how he defines winning.
"The chances of me getting elected this time are very slim, but the chances of me winning are very good," said the 45-year-old Londoner.
"We are going to be able to define some issues. We are going to be able to make people stop and think there are alternatives to the old ideas from the old parties.
"That's really our goal," said Walker, running in his fourth provincial election for the party.
Founded in 1984 and headquartered in London, the Freedom party is fielding candidates in l4 of Ontario's 103 ridings, including party president Rob Metz, running in London-North-Centre.
Walker said the party has about 12,000 supporters, 300 to 400 of whom send money on a regular basis.
"We are in a growing mould. We want people to see us, to find out about us. We are still establishing ourselves."
The party's founding principle is "every individual, in the peaceful pursuit of personal fulfilment, has an absolute right to his or her own life, liberty and property."
With personal freedom as its hallmark, the party has policies that make it difficult to peg on the political left or right.
The party says it would stop taxpayer funding for abortions, for example, but believes it's up to a woman to decide if she wants one.
It would also decriminalize use of marijuana, privatize education in Ontario, open the health system to more private competition and end free health care for all.
Walker said many people see similarities between Freedom and the Progressive Conservatives.
"The PCs want to cut taxes. The Freedom party wants to cut taxes," he said.
While the Tories say lower taxes create jobs and economic growth, the Freedom party wants tax cuts for another reason.
"The higher the taxes are that you pay, the more decisions are being made for you by government as opposed to you making the decisions and taking the responsibility," he said.
But the Freedom party has also been called left-wing because of its belief in civil liberties and social choices.
"We find our membership comes from either end of the spectrum, from either the NDP person or from the people who were with the Tories," Walker said.
A technical support analyst at Kellogg Canada in London, Walker said he'd be happy if other parties raid Freedom's ideas in the campaign.
"If one of the other parties came along, took all of our ideas and said they would do it, I'd go home and take care of my lawn."
Walker said he's been amazed by the warm reception he gets campaigning at the door.
People are often eager to discuss politics and their views, he said.
The biggest obstacle has been the media, which dismiss the party as a fringe group, he said.
last updated on April 28, 2002