by Robert Metz – July 2006

From an objective point of view (namely mine), Freedom Party is the best political party ever invented. Sure, I’m one of the founding members of the party, but I didn’t invent or create Freedom Party.

Freedom Party has evolved into something much larger than any one of us individually, thanks to the work, support, and wisdom of people dedicated to the principle that: “Every individual, in the peaceful pursuit of personal fulfillment, has an absolute right to his or her own life, liberty, and property.”

I had no idea, in 1984 when Freedom Party was founded, just where that moral proposition would lead us. But I had expectations.

Only a few years earlier, and when I was well into my late twenties, I was vaguely aware that something was seriously wrong with the way we were being governed. But like so many others, I was a political illiterate, not knowing the difference between left, right, center, or which of Ontario’s political parties fit into which color of the political spectrum. (They’re all ‘red’.)

I do recall, however, my absolute astonishment, in a country that supposedly holds freedom as its highest ideal and which has sent its soldiers to die “for freedom”, to discover that no political party or group wanted the name Freedom Party. Just about every other reasonable (and some unreasonable) name you could think of for a political party was already taken or reserved for official registration. But no one ever started a Freedom Party. I didn’t expect that. (Today I know why, but that’s the subject of another story.)

A ROAD NEVER TRAVELED

However, there’s one thing I did expect from the very beginning, an expectation that might deter most from getting involved with a new political party. Then, as today, I fully understood the enormity of the the task before us — and its necessity. We were, and still are, pioneers on a road never traveled — one away from more government control, higher taxes, ever-increasing government spending, and less of everything else.

Most are tragically unaware that freedom has never been won within a majority rule process, which always moves away from freedom towards tyranny. Historically, freedom was always won by civil disobedience, law breaking, revolution, and even war. There simply were no ‘democratic’ options for freedom, that is, in the form of a political party to vote for.

On a television news broadcast aired almost eighteen years ago, we let the media know that Freedom Party candidates only expected to get one or two percent of the vote, but that the important thing for any new political party to do was to field candidates.

I was quoted thusly: “There’s the element of political credibility. Can you be electable in the immediate future? Well that’s something that when we started this party we knew would be at least a decade or two away. Credibility in an election is (totally different from what most expect). It isn’t related to your ideas – directly – it’s related more to the credibility of the organization behind the ideas, and its consistency, and its ability to be there election after election.” (November 3, 1988 – Behind The News – Ch10 London Ontario)

Since the very beginning, Freedom Party has consistently increased its number of candidates in each successive election, starting with three in 1985 and reaching two dozen in the last Ontario election. But even fielding a full slate of candidates, though necessary, is not enough to reach critical mass, the tipping point, the time at which Freedom Party will be perceived as an ‘overnight success’ and elect its first member to the legislature.

Today, Freedom Party has the best platform ever offered by a political party, and an informed, educated and articulate party leader, Paul McKeever, who can out-debate any of the other party leaders on any of the major issues.

Moreover, Freedom Party has a track record of effective education and lobby efforts which are documented for all to see in our past newsletters and on line: We fought tax increases — and won. We fought government spending on grandiose stadium projects and sports events — and won. We fought three entrenched and elected Ontario political parties, each vehemently opposed to Sunday shopping in Ontario — and won.

But when it comes to Ontario elections, we still haven’t won one yet.
With electoral returns barely reaching 1% for Freedom Party candidates in the recent Ontario by-elections, it’s easy to believe that Freedom Party is not making any progress towards its goal of becoming an electable party in Ontario.

Everyone has a theory: “You’re ‘splitting the right’; you don’t field enough candidates to form a majority; I haven’t seen you in the papers; your candidates aren’t high profile enough; your party’s name is wrong; no one’s ever heard of you; you can’t win; your policies are too extreme; you’re being ‘too frank’ with the public; why bother? – it won’t make any difference anyway.” And so on.

They’ve all got it wrong. Whether true or not, and most are not, none of these things are relevant to the goal of getting elected. The early vote totals of any new political party will tell you nothing about that party other than the fact that a candidate was fielded in the riding.

SOME FRANK TALK ABOUT GETTING ELECTED:

The inertia of incumbency and voter loyalty is difficult for most to appreciate and requires a clear context and perspective. Given my corporate and business background and experience, I already knew, some eighteen years ago that it would be at least twenty years before most Ontarians could even say they’ve heard of Freedom Party, let alone feel confident in voting for the party.

Let’s face it, in any given 20 year period, political parties only get four to five meaningful ‘kicks at the can’, that is, opportunities to field candidates. This alone should speak to the reality of the time constraints involved in having so few pathetically short election periods in so long a period of time.

Now here’s something even more daunting, and probably something you don’t even want to know, but which is nevertheless an inescapable fact: Getting elected has little to do with what a candidate or party represents in terms of philosophy, policy, or direction. Almost nothing.

Philosophy and policy are important for other reasons, but not directly for getting elected. If I just wanted to ‘get elected,’ I probably could have done so already (and so could most of you who are reading this), by running for one of the two most ‘electable’ parties. But my getting elected with one of the major parties would not only have destroyed any ability on my part to work for freedom, but would have forced me to actually work against freedom.

I recall, after my very first election speech as a Freedom Party candidate in London South (1985), incumbent and Conservative candidate Gordon Walker, noticing how warmly the audience reacted to my message, invited me to consider becoming a Conservative — right there at the all candidates’ debates in plain sight for everyone to see and hear. If Walker really liked what I was saying, he should have been a Freedom Party candidate, not a Conservative.

It’s a good thing I didn’t take him up on his offer. After running (up to that point) the most expensive riding election campaign ever held in Ontario, he lost his seat to Liberal Joan Smith, and the Progressive Conservatives sank into near oblivion until Mike Harris briefly charmed voters with his mild dose of ‘common sense.’

Today, Ontario – and its three ‘electable’ parties – continue drifting left into the socialist seas of record-setting deficit financing, bloated government bureaucracies and whopping tax rates, all accompanied by cutbacks and rationing of just about any service offered by government. The trend that existed in 1984 when Freedom Party was founded, continues unabated to this very day, regardless of which socialist party has ruled the province: Liberal, Progressive Conservative, or NDP.

So if you just want to ‘get elected’ in this political climate, be my guest and go join one of those parties. But don’t have any expectations about being able to change anything for the better. Not only is freedom not on their agenda, freedom is the very thing that collectivist parties fear the most. In fact, no matter how well intentioned one might be, by joining or supporting any of those parties, one will have participated in the destruction of freedom and contributed to the continued decline of Ontario’s standard of living.

There is no middle ground here. It’s black and white.

I have witnessed first hand how quickly a well-intentioned freedom oriented candidate must abandon any principle of freedom when working with any of the other parties. It’s unavoidable and inevitable. The ONLY way to put freedom on the political agenda is to financially support and vote for Freedom Party – a party of principle.

Here’s why: Consider the options. Liberals don’t believe in anything and Liberals believe in everything. With broken promises littering their yellow fib road to power, the Liberal Party is proof that you can fool most of the people — at least long enough to get them to put their ‘x’ on the ballot. After that, who knows? Any bad thing could happen – and always does.

Then there’s the pitiful so-called ‘conservatives’. Progressive Conservatives, they say. Socialist conservatives, I say. Because that’s what they are. Theirs is the party that introduced income tax to Ontario. Theirs is the party that created Ontario’s health care monopoly and banned private health care. Progressive Conservatives gave us rent controls, phoney Human Rights codes, monopolized Ontario Hydro, etc., — all under the guise of being a ‘conservative’ party supposedly interested in protecting private property, free markets and capitalism.

Conservatives have become freedom’s worst enemies, because they practice socialism in the name of freedom. Freedom is the very thing that they restrict and destroy to achieve their political ends. On every count, Progressive Conservatives support the philosophies and objectives of the Liberals and New Democrats and oppose every principle that Freedom Party stands for. They give freedom and capitalism a bad name, and make our job all the harder.

Then there’s the New Democrats, whose tyrannical belief in the tyranny of majority rule has also become the standard of the other two parties as well. That’s their ‘new democracy’ — the old mob rule presented as political recipe. Tyranny is not democracy, even if a majority supports it. New Democrats? Who needs them when we have Liberals and Conservatives?

Make no mistake! All three parties are vehemently opposed to each and every plank in Freedom Party’s 2007 Election Platform, the Right Direction. So guess what? For anybody even remotely concerned with freedom at all, supporting Liberals, Conservatives or New Democrats simply isn’t an option.

Unlike all the other ‘isms’ in the political world, freedom is not an ‘ism’ nor is it an ideology. It is the condition in which human beings must live — if they are to be human beings. To achieve this condition, there’s only one political choice in Ontario — Freedom Party, a party that actually cares about freedom!

Which brings me back to politics and the secret of getting elected, so please allow me to be really blunt about this (I know most of you don’t like to hear this): The vast majority of voters know nothing about anything I’ve discussed in this article. Not only do they know nothing about Freedom Party, they know nothing about the philosophies or platforms of the parties that they DO vote for. They know nothing about their own candidates.

It’s important to understand this.

Ask the average Liberal, Conservative, or NDP voter what the party they voted for explicitly stands for and they will not know! They cannot know because their parties themselves do not know what they stand for — until voters tell them what they stand for. That’s why polls, not principles, are what form the policies of the other parties and why they are all so much alike. It’s a vicious circle from which they cannot escape. The other parties follow; they do not, and cannot, lead.

Worse, not only do most voters not know anything about the parties they vote for, they know nothing about the nature of government — or of the voting process itself. Their scant attention to politics, if any at all, is comprised of the few moments every four or five years that they spend in a voting booth. Is it surprising at all that the vast majority still have never heard of Freedom Party?

Does any of this scare you? It should.

In their political vacuum, most voters are not only unwittingly destroying their own well being, but the well being, freedom and security even of those few who DO understand freedom and government, like you and me. It is simply the nature of our increasingly undemocratic majority rule system that the vast majority will ALWAYS remain uninformed. Uninformed action is always destructive.

This is not cynicism talking, and the purpose of my making you aware of this reality is not to depress you, but to offer hope. Remember, I used to be one of the vast majority that I just described and I was eventually able to think and act for myself. If I can do it, anybody can.

So what of Freedom Party?

First, it is important to recognize that Freedom Party is not for everybody and does not pretend to be. People interested in getting something for nothing will not find a home in Freedom Party. People who want politicians to ‘protect’ them from labor or business competition will not find a home in Freedom Party. Racists are not welcome. Censorship advocates and others who demonstrate intolerance of peaceful behavior are not welcome. Freedom Party is not a fear-oriented party.

Second, it is only by choosing to become part of an informed independent minority that one can ultimately command majorities. All parties are run by tiny minorities.

Third, voters are not informed and do not understand the nature of the parties and candidates they currently support. The irony of this is that the people who are voting for parties they really know nothing about will also vote for a new party like Freedom Party — when their faith (which is all they have, in the absence of understanding) in the parties they usually support is weakened or destroyed. That’s how Bob Rae’s NDP won an election by default — when enough voters held their noses and refused to vote for the Fiberals and Conningservatives.

Will uninformed and indifferent voters ever get fed up enough with the three socialist parties to try a new, and different option, like Freedom Party? Yes — if they know we exist. Yes — If we have a voice that can be heard.

Will this happen in 2007? 2011? 2015? I have no way of predicting an unpredictable future. But Ontario’s three recent by-elections may offer a clue. Although media breakthroughs were made, most of the media either ignored Freedom Party’s candidates, actively evaded them, or outright misrepresented them.

Take, for example, Rogers Cable in the riding of Whitby-Ajax where Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever clearly made an impression. After the debate, Rogers polled its viewers on line: McKeever came out on top, polling as high as 48%. This was documented and confirmed by the cable broadcaster. Yet, in their news coverage of the debate and the poll results, Rogers’ newscasters falsely reported, on the eve of the election, that McKeever came in second, after PC candidate Christine Elliott (the wife of Jim Flaherty).

Meanwhile, TVO’s Studio 2 (the most influential media source for Ontario voters) critically damaged Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever’s campaign by eliminating him from their coverage and by putting a sexist spin on the by-election. Host Steve Paikin (who did interview McKeever in the last general election – see video clips on line) characterized the by-election as a three-way, all woman race, outrageously excluding all four male candidates from the debate!!!!

And in the riding of Nepean-Carleton, Fp candidate Jurgen Vollrath was excluded from the Ottawa Citizen’s editorial board meeting with the candidates. In a follow-up letter to the editor which was never published, Vollrath wrote:

“As the Freedom Party candidate for the upcoming by-election in Nepean Carleton, I should have been contacted to voice an opinion. Your newspaper has contributed to the growing democratic deficit where people are moving away from the polls as the political process is constantly undermined by such arrogant refusal to acknowledge all the voices, however small, that pick up the gauntlet and strive to make a positive difference in our society. Our city and our country deserves better. Shame on you.”

With media coverage like this, is it any wonder that voters vote the way they do? To speak for the voter himself, I leave you with the heart wrenching comments of ‘Ken’, a voter and resident of Whitby-Ajax who wrote to Fp leader Paul McKeever after he had already cast his ballot for another candidate:

“I have to say you totally impressed me with everything you had to say at the debate. I think the other party representatives fell way short of coming off knowledgeable, compared to you.

I have to admit, before I watched the debate, I didn’t know you existed.

From the issues of Property Taxes to your answer to the lady from China, you are right on the money. I have been looking forward to a change in government, since the Gomery Inquiry came to light, with all the corruption in the Liberal Party. I voted Conservative, hoping my vote would count. It did. Unfortunately, for this local election, to replace Jim Flaherty I voted last weekend at the advance polling station at the Whitby Mall. So yes, you guessed it, I voted Conservative. Christine isn’t who I would like to have representing me, but she is the Conservative rep, so she got my vote.

I am now wishing I hadn’t voted early, because I have done myself a wrong, and you. After watching the debate, I am now wishing you were the Conservative member. I just want to apologize for not knowing who you were and what you stood for before making my vote.”

Next election, Ken, and others like him, will likely vote for Freedom Party. His understanding that he has done both himself and Freedom Party ‘a wrong’ is an epiphany still awaiting most Ontario voters. It’s our job — yours and mine — to speed this process by continuing to do what we have set out to do and to never stray from our path.

If you want to live in a free society, you are currently in a minority. That chilling fact alone stops most people cold. Frozen in inaction. So get over it. Take action. Do the right thing. Before we realize it, and after many years of hard work, we’re sure to become an overnight success.

Ken is counting on us.     {end}

- Robert Metz Freedom Flyer July 2006