Freedom Flyer Fall 2000 Cover

Freedom Flyer 34

the official newsletter of the
Freedom Party of Ontario

Fall 2000

Election 99...


ONTARIO (May 5 - June 3, 1999) - If there is one certain conclusion that can be drawn from Freedom Party's vote results in Election'99, it is that print media exposure counts. Whether positive or negative, more media exposure means more votes, particularly when a political party is still in its infancy. It is not surprising then, that our rural candidates invariably do much better than our urban candidates. In the urban centers (i.e., Toronto, London, Ottawa) print media tends to be monopolized by major papers who have no interest in covering alternative political platforms, whereas in the rural areas there exist smaller and more numerous news publications who are hungry for local news.

This was certainly the case during last year's election campaign: candidates Wayne Forbes and Andrew Falby, who received the most print coverage of any Fp candidates, also received the most votes, whereas candidates Robert Metz and Wayne Simmons, who received the least coverage, also received the least number of votes.


"While most media reporters have some understanding of politics and personalities, few, if any, understand freedom --- or the fundamental nature of government," says Fp president and Election'99 campaign manager Robert Metz. "Most reporters seem unable to grasp the most basic of freedom's tenets, and thus take for granted and consciously or unconsciously support the statist quo."

This media mindset presents unique marketing problems for advocates of individual freedom. Both freedom and its advocates will find themselves misrepresented and/or under attack. "Freedom of association" is called "discrimination". Wanting to hold polluters responsible for their actions is interpreted as "abolish(ing) fines for environmental polluters". Admitting that you have smoked marijuana (even just once!), can earn you a "Pot smoking candidate" headline.


But worse than being misrepresented, misquoted or misunderstood, is being ignored or evaded entirely. First prize for this dubious honour must surely go to the London Free Press. As the major daily paper located in the same city as Freedom Party's provincial headquarters, Free Press editors and reporters virtually had to go out of their way to ignore us. And they did, in more ways than we care to count. (With the London Free Press, the evasion of reporting on Fp's activities extends well beyond election periods; see other coverage in this newsletter.)

Another key media disappointment in the London area occurred when Fp candidates were not invited to CFPL Radio 98's "all candidates debates", in which they would have shared the stage with candidates of the so-called major parties. Claiming that alternate candidates "monopolize the debate," program host Gord Harris instead scheduled all the alternate party candidates of all the London ridings (11 candidates invited, 6 in studio), plus the Natural Law party leader (by phone from Toronto), into one two-hour time slot on May 25, 1999.


"This guy's a kook!" objected Fp London North Centre candidate Robert Metz, after over ten minutes of an already tight air-time schedule was given over to Natural Law party leader Ron Parker.

"He's one of these guys that makes 'fringe' party a 'fringe' party," said Metz to program host Gord Harris. "The guy's a kook, and he shouldn't be in politics."

"You're in the wrong venue," Metz told Parker, " and you're making it tough for parties like ourselves, who have at least issues that are political, to get them out into the venue. I don't know what motivates you; it's not political. You haven't stated a single political principle. You speak about 'consciousness-based solutions' as opposed to, I suppose, unconsciousness, but this has nothing to do with politics, or the proper function of government or what government should be all about. I think you guys are just cluttering up the ballot and giving the rest of us a bad name."

"Well I disagree with that totally," retorted Parker. "Because we have solutions that work and you don't."

"You're saying that out of total ignorance," re-retorted Metz. "What solution are you referring to that I've proposed that won't work?"


"Do you even know a single Freedom Party solution?" asked Metz.

"Well the whole point is that until you clean up the real causes of problems which are inside of people themselves, nothing that government does will really have much effect," Parker responded.

"I've been saying that for a long time," agreed Metz. "That's why we believe in individual rights, and that responsibility belongs with the individual. That's the basic political issue."

"On that, we totally and completely agree," responded Parker, but then continued on his usual tangent about "increasing the level of responsibility in individuals" through "consciousness- based" solutions.

"Ron, with respect, we're hearing a platform that has no planks that we can see," interjected Harris. "You know what I'm saying? And we keep falling through it; there's nothing tangible to stand on."


Unfortunately, having a tangible solid platform has very little to do with getting votes or getting elected. Elements of small party platforms which prove to be popular invariably find their way into the platforms of the major parties, making it more difficult for the public to discern differences between the old parties and new, and making the party that originated the policy less politically viable in terms of getting elected. To illustrate:

"Some of the things I've heard today from the Freedom Party strike me as some of the things that some of the population fears most about the Tories --- about going too far with privatization and downloading or downsizing government," commented talk show host Harris during the alternate candidates' debate. "...a Tory to the extreme, if you will."

"Not really," Metz assured him. "The Tories have centralized government and taken over the education system, trying to make it 'efficient'. We would have given choice to individual parents in the community..."

"But the belief is that that is step one, so the next step could be charter schools and individual choice," Harris responded. "What I'm hearing from a lot of people is that's what they're afraid the Tories are planning in the future, and it seems to be what (Freedom Party is) saying right now."

"They certainly shouldn't be afraid of that if they care about their health care and education," Metz stated. "For the longest time Freedom Party has been advocating policies that have become inevitable. We were the only political party actively campaigning for Sunday shopping at a time when the party that brought us Sunday shopping --- the NDP --- was the most vehemently opposed to it. But it was an inevitable policy.

"We're going to see lower taxes; we're going to see privatization; it doesn't matter where you are on the political spectrum. You will see the necessity of freedom of speech because it's just not possible for government to ban speech anymore. The fact that these things are inevitable does not make them evil. We have to understand that these are good things; that help us to survive; that freedom separates a country of prosperity from the countries that are poor, that do not have freedom. You'd think that this would be a fundamental truth that we all understand."


As with freedom, the media's attitude toward the democratic process leaves much to be desired, despite its many editorials espousing the virtues of democracy. Thanks to the media, most voters hear only about the two or three old political party candidates in their riding. The existence of alternate parties remains either unacknowledged, as with the Toronto Star's typical post-election coverage (Friday, June 4, 1999) of Toronto Centre-Rosedale, where there were nine candidates (including Fp's Paul McKeever) fielded: "The three party candidates agreed that health and education were the main issues in the election," or, as in the case with Sarnia's Observer, their existence is treated with condescension, and fear that "even if the Freedom Party draws a mere one per cent of the vote, it may be the per cent which decides who represents us in Queen's Park." (Observer, May 19, 1999)

As it turned out in Lambton Kent Middlesex, the Observer's worst fear came to pass. Freedom Party's Wayne Forbes drew 2.48%, with his 1076 votes totaling exactly 300 more ballots than the 776 vote spread between winning PC incumbent Marcel Beaubien (19,296) and Liberal candidate Larry O'Neill (18,520). Forbes' vote total also represented 25.77% of the 4175 vote total received by the NDP candidate (Jim Lee) in his riding.

In response to Fp candidate Paul McKeever's complaint that the Toronto Star incorrectly reported the number of candidates running in his riding, the paper's ombudsman, Don Sellar, replied: "When fringe candidates are able to demonstrate that they are a factor in the election, they begin to attract news coverage. The Star's riding profiles attempt to focus on those candidates."

"My complaint was not that the Star failed to 'focus on' me," responded McKeever. "My complaint was that the Star made an allegation of fact which was patently false. Moreover, your explanation (regarding) candidates who are 'a factor' begs the question: how does the Star determine who is a factor? To the majority of voters in Toronto Centre Rosedale, most if not all of the candidates are virtual unknowns (notably, PC Durhane Wong-Rieger, who only recently parachuted into the riding). Apparently, therefore, the primary feature which the Star thinks makes one 'a factor' is affiliation with the PCs, Liberals or NDP."


It can be reasonably expected that any near-future successes of Fp campaigns will be met with increasing hostility, contempt and evasion by the traditional major media. This has been the pattern with virtually all new political movements until they become more universally recognized as 'a factor'. Freedom Party members and supporters must recognize that most established newspapers are political instruments who support specific political philosophies (and often parties) far removed from the principles of individual freedom and responsibility.

Until that changes, voters searching for a party of principle will continue to find themselves without a choice, or be forced to vote for the lesser of whatever evils the media cares to dish out.


There is hope of speeding up the process of change, however. As an increasing number of people become computer literate, and suspicious of the information meted out by the traditional media, the Internet and alternate publications like this newsletter will allow them to discover the real choices available to them, choices that the major media are not acknowledging.

The Internet shows particular promise: For example, during Election'99 and the immediate 3-4 weeks preceding the dropping of the writ, Freedom Party's World Wide Web site at "" received just under 300,000 hits, with 10,161 hits on election day June 3 representing the highest single day total up to that point. (Current post-election traffic on our website averages between one and two million hits annually.)


Moreover, thanks to the past work and efforts of our candidates, leader, and provincial executive, we have accumulated an incredible AUDIO and VIDEO library of Freedom Party campaigns, debates, speeches, official presentations, etc., that will soon be made available to the broader public and membership at large. Watch for our future announcements and ads that will update you on this development.


Audio-tapes of the all-candidates' debate mentioned above are available to members, supporters, and the public at large. Visit our Feedback page for details of how to get in touch with us.

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