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- for immediate release -



Freedom Party of Ontario



Attn: Newsroom


September 19, 2004 - Oshawa, Ontario

A message from Paul McKeever, leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario, in response to the election of John Tory to the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party:

Last night's count of the electoral votes in the election of the Progressive Conservative party's new leader shows just how dependent the red tories are upon the continued support of the conservative half of the PC party, which backed Mr. Klees and Mr. Flaherty. With a 100 point system that equally weights ridings, Mr. Tory surpassed the 5028 electoral vote threshhold by only 362.86 votes. Mr. Flaherty's supporters were only 363.86 electoral votes short of a leadership win.

The panicky calls for "unity", "loyalty" and "backing the leader" will now commence at full volume within the PC party. The simple fact, however, is that the PC Party of Ontario, like its federal counterpart in the early 90s, has become two parties running under one name. Like a marriage on the rocks, everyone knows it, though many are afraid to admit it. The PC party is now a party in which a slender majority of Joe Clark style conservatives will beg the other half of the party not to allow, at the provincial level, the political re-alignment that happened federally. That other half will be doing a lot of soul-searching: searching desperately for a rationale for continuing a relationship that has been too strained for too long, and is resulting in estrangement.

A political re-alignment at the provincial level is inevitable, however. Blue tories will now be asked to be loyal to a party that stands for many of the Liberal policies that blue tories have been fighting so hard to defeat. Many will see no reason to be loyal to a party that has been disloyal to them. Blue tories will be called upon for money and time. Most will not provide either. Blue tories will be told they are an essential part of the same team. Blue tories will know, however, that they are only being told that because their numbers are needed to give the red tories a shot at government.

Those who backed Mr. Flaherty will not hold their breath in anticipation that the PC party will now eliminate the funding barriers that deter Ontario parents from sending their children to independent schools. Those who backed Mr. Klees know that a John Tory-led PC party will not allow competition between government health care and a parallel private system. The private electricity sector will not be inspired to invest in electricity generation or transmission within Ontario: Hydro One's assets will continue to deteriorate and to be inadequate for the transmission of additional power. Drivers will not now expect a PC government to axe the no fault auto insurance system that lies at the root of overpriced insurance in Ontario, even though it has been repealed in more than half of the US states in which it was tried. The simple fact, recognized by anyone who has been paying attention since the PC leadership election of 2002, is that a slight majority of red tories has decided that the Common Sense Revolution was an abberation; an unusual blip in PC party history. They have decided to fight election 2007 not on the basis of policy differences between the PCs and the Liberals, but upon the supposed honesty, integrity and ability of the two parties' leaders. They have decided to run a campaign that places style over substance, polls over principle.

The election of John Tory to the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is the outcome that Freedom Party of Ontario has anticipated since 2002, when the red tory majority of the PC membership ejected the common sense agenda of the Mike Harris government, and sidelined his supporters within the party. It is, in fact, the outcome for which Freedom Party has been preparing since 2002.

I will not feign indifference. I am quite delighted with the PC leadership outcome because it will continue the advancement, at the provincial level, of the political re-alignment that happened federally. The selection of John Tory to lead the PC party leaves Freedom Party the only party in Ontario that continues to advocate common sense, economically sound solutions to the problems facing health care, education, and electricity in Ontario.

With three parties (four, if you include the Greens) fighting over - splitting, if you will - the pro-socialist/pro-central-planning vote, being Ontario's only capitalist party puts Freedom Party in an enviable position. A slender but powerful majority of the PC party wants a party that manages the status quo better. Freedom Party wants to exchange the status quo for something better. We want health care, education, and electricity that is improved by sound economics, rather than a mediocre, do-nothing political course.

In the 36 months ahead, Freedom Party and I will be working very hard to ensure that Ontario has an alternative to poll driven, politically-motivated, government. It will require a re-assembly of those who put substance before style; those who seek success rather than avoid failure; those who put doing what is right for Ontario's economy first, and put political expediency last. It will involve the efforts of those who know that one wins with conviction, and that one must lead with integrity. It will require courage on the part of every person who has ever advocated government reform, and it will require an admission that the right loses in Ontario only when it surrenders.

To those in Ontario who are the hope for a better Ontario, I would add only this: be loyal only to what you know is right. Do not choose to surrender.

Paul McKeever is the leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario. You can contact him directly at: ***-***-**** (cell)

For further information: Paul McKeever, Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario.
Oshawa Office Telephone: 905-721-9772.


Freedom Party of Ontario
240 Commissioners Road West
London, Ontario N6J 1Y1
1-(800)-830-3301 / (519) 681-3999
FAX: (519) 681-2857