Ontario FCP meets to chart new course
By Tony Gosgnach
The Family Coalition Party of Ontario is concentrating on improving its organizational structure in the wake of a less-than-stellar showing in the last provincial election.
Party leader Giuseppe Gori says that, among other changes, the FCP is changing its constitution to increase the number of regional directors to 11 from eight. Each director looks after 10 ridings.
In an interview with The Interim during the FCP's recent annual meeting in Mississauga, Ont., Gori acknowledged his party did "very badly in terms of the number of votes" in the last election. He blamed small-c conservative voters' tendency to vote for the Harris Tories instead of the FCP, in spite of the Tories' failure to come through on moral issues and their capitulation to pro-gay court rulings.
"Those things are definitely not conservative. Even in the areas of economics and health care, Mike Harris is not necessarily a small-c conservative," Gori said.
Gori said other new party initiatives encompass a stronger media emphasis, which includes advertising, more use of the Internet (via e-mailings and a website) and a weekly radio program, which airs in southern Ontario on Mondays from 5:45 to 6 p.m. on CJMR AM1320. New riding associations are also being created, and attempts are being made to attract new candidates.
Despite the recent poor results at the polls, Gori remained optimistic that the FCP has a realistic chance of electing a candidate in the near future. He pointed to the example of Michael Spensieri, who was a Liberal MPP during the 1980s, and later approached the FCP about becoming a candidate. Spensieri was unable to compete in the last election because of health problems, but may well run in the next one.
"This is a situation where a person has been an MPP and is very well recognized in his former riding," said Gori. "He is someone who could well win the riding."
Another possible bright star is Jim Brown, a strong advocate for life and family during his tenure as a Toronto-area Conservative MPP before he lost his seat in the last election.
Gori said that apart from attracting star candidates, several other scenarios would make it possible for the FCP to have a candidate elected. One would be a situation in which proportional representation is enacted. Another would see conservative voters disenchanted with the Harris Tories flocking to the FCP rather than one of the other "mainline" parties.
At the annual meeting, Gori lauded his party for having "a strong foundation … based on true, unchanging values," and committed to defending faith, family and freedom for future generations of Ontarians.
The meeting's focus was on health care, with London Free Press columnist Rory Leishman criticizing the "monopoly" of public-sector health services. He said the situation is resulting in widespread crises including emergency room congestion and continual demands for more funds to cover ever-spiralling expenses.
Leishman also lamented how hospitals are increasingly becoming simply wards of the state, and the implications this has for increased abortion and euthanasia. The elderly in the Netherlands, for example, live in dread of being taken to hospital for fear they may be killed.
In a wide-ranging panel discussion, St. Catharines lawyer Geoff Cauchi, Hamilton family physician Dr. Carmelo Scime and writer and retired Toronto radiologist Dr. John Shea examined ethical and financial reform of the health system.
Scime rejected the notion that two-tiered health system doesn't already exist, while Shea outlined a comprehensive, 24-point plan to "fix the system." His plan was grounded on the premise that everyone is entitled to basic health care.