Ontario’s Newest Party In Parliment
Ontario’s political scene has been shaken to its core, as current Premier Kathleen Wynne faces one of the lowest-recorded approval ratings for a premier, a court investigation due to her former boss’s actions and Ontario’s difficult energy costs, among many other problems.
In the wake of this disastrous government, the Progressive Conservative party, under Patrick Brown, has received large-scale support from an increasingly large voter base.
But, like most groups that become successful, the PCs have experienced some problems pertaining to unity.
As Patrick Brown tries to unify a movement in order to take on the Ontario Liberals, he also compromises on many of the core values that drove much of the conservative movement and his early success.
In light of this, several new movements have popped up across the province hoping to bring about a new opposition to Wynne and her government.
One such movement is the Trillium Party of Ontario, which gained its first member of parliament this year due former PC parliamentarian Jack Maclaren joining the party.
We interviewed Bob Yaciuk, the president of the Trillium Party, and Jack Maclaren to see what their movement and party hoped to accomplish within Ontario’s rapidly-shifting political environment.
Maclaren explained that he chose to leave the Progressive Conservatives over differences in values. “I wanted a party that shared my values – the belief in true democracy and true freedom,” he said. “I want to get democracy into it, and it cannot be done from the inside”
Maclaren explained that party leadership is to blame for this. “I believe Canada is great, but it is not as good as it used to be because we are over-regulated, because we have a top-down, autocratic government and because we have party and leadership which sits in back rooms telling MPPs like me to toe the line and place the party first,” he said.
Yaciuk emphasized that the Trilliuam Party is “the only party that will allow their MPP not to have a whip vote,” because “the MPP should be the voice of the people in the area.”
Yaciuk defines the Trillium Party as a “common sense party.”
“Most people don’t know the difference between right-wing and left-wing policy. Everyone understands common sense policy. There are so many people that are disgruntled with the direction the PC’s are going, as they have the exact same policies as the Liberals,” he said.
One notable similarity is the major parties’ positions on carbon taxes. “The liberals brought in and the PC’s supported it. They said that in a manufacturing province. That is not a common sense policy. “
Yaciuk highlighted the importance of grassroots support within the Trillium Party, noting that their growth comes from the careful attention they pay to each member. Thier growth has been significant: they now boast 1400 members and are running 20 candidates.
“We’re up to four riding associations now, with more forming as we speak, and we have some PC’s riding who are switching over to us,” said Yaciuk.
“They’re good people Who give up all the time! The riding association is who puts in the most time. They come out to fundraisers, they come out events. And what do they get out of it? A kick in the teeth and told to deal with it. That’s just not right”
Going forward, the Trillium Party hopes to make a real difference. “Our timing is really, really good,” explained Maclaren. “The Liberals have been around for too long; I don’t think the NDP are a real choice for Ontario – people remember the Bob Rae days; Patrick Brown was supposed to be the saviour and now people are noticing, very quickly, there is no leader there.”
Maclaren believes the party’s values will speak to Ontarians. “We have the philosophical values of freedom and democracy and we aim to demonstrate to the people of Ontario that we are people of integrity and honesty,” he said. “If we win half a dozen seats – something we can do – we can seriously affect the coming, likely, minority”