​Voters need tools to better control how we nominate local candidates, formulate major party policies and elect people to represent us who will have to keep their promises or be held accountable, long before the next election.

53% of survey respondents do not support any of the traditional parties, 66% say direct democracy (where people not politicians control) is “a good way to govern”, but 71% say rule by strong leader (Majority governments) is “a bad way to govern”  and 70% feel governments do not ever care about them.

Canadians frustrated by state of democracy, study says – 70% of survey’s participants feel government doesn’t care what ordinary Canadians think

Election 43: half the electorate up for grabs; health care, affordability, honesty are top issues for pliable voters – Angus Reid Institute

Support for Democracy High Around the World | Pew Research Center – Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy

66% of all people say direct democracy (where people not politicians control) and 78% say representative democracy (across all political party perspectives in control) are “a good way to govern”, but 71% say “a bad way to govern” is rule by strong leader (Majority governments).

Many publics want a direct say – Direct democracy, a governing system where citizens, not elected officials, vote directly on major national issues, is supported by roughly two-thirds of the public around the world, with little difference in views between regions.

The None of the Above Direct Democracy Party of Ontario and Canada campaign for the 3Rs of Direct Democracy – Referendum, Recall and Real electoral and legislative Reforms that give voters control of politicians and parties. Candidates are accountable to their constituents and there are no central party policies or controls of elected MPPs beyond the binding Direct Democracy principles.

We want Recall Laws to apply to politicians, civil servants and judges all of whom who are virtually immune from real public accountability so that they pay for errors in their conduct the same way all others do with penalties including immediate termination with a loss of all severance pay, pensions or other benefits, for any dereliction of duty and other improper conduct.

“There is another option for people who want a choice other than to vote for any of the big party candidates or to give up their right to cast a secret ballot by having to publicly decline their ballots, a choice that makes their vote count for real change.”

The None of the Above Direct Democracy Party of Ontario and Canada are part of a worldwide movement of new and independent parties and candidates campaigning for direct democracy and voter empowerment policies supported by voters and non-voters alike. In some countries it is a negative option vote similar to declining a ballot as is presently allowed in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. A private member’s bill was introduced in the Commons in 2001 proposing amendments to the election act that would permit an elector to formally decline the ballot but it was not supported by any of the parties with status. Other Chief Electoral Officers’ recommendations to Canadian legislatures to so the same have been refused.

On Monday, November 12, 2018, Judge John Norris ruled against a Charter Challenge by David Rodriguez, a University of Ottawa law student who lived in Gatineau, Que., who chose not to vote in the last election because he was not able to “officially express dissatisfaction with all of the candidates available to him,” he said in a statement of claim, filed when he launched his Charter challenge last year. He wanted ballots cast for “none of the above” to be counted and noted, as a way of expressing dissatisfaction with political options as they are in four provinces. He claimed the election laws stifled that expression of legitimate political belief.

Norris accepted that demonstrating a rejection of all candidates standing for election was a form of political expression, but said the federal election laws do not actually prevent him from writing “none of the above” on his ballot. The laws only prevent people from knowing about it.

“The public will never know how many ballots, if any, were cast with a view to rejecting all the available candidates,” wrote Norris.

As such, the government was not interfering with Rodriguez’s expression; it just wasn’t amplifying it.

Rights and freedoms are often loosely referred to as “positive” and “negative” obligations on government. The right to vote requires government to take a positive action — to hold free and fair elections, Norris noted. The right to freedom of assembly, on the other hand, requires government to maintain a negative action — not to shut down a lawful gathering.

Polls and media coverage usually does not include even mentioning any smaller and new party and independent candidates even exist.

Canadians’ media-consumption habits lead to misinformation, study finds

“The one troubling point seems to be that, while social media exposure is associated with higher levels of misinformation, so is exposure to traditional or mainstream media (though to a lesser extent),” writes the report.

“It appears that simply consuming news, regardless of source, makes people susceptible to being misinformed about the issues,” the report says.

ThreeHundredEight.com: The polling plight of the little parties

The average result for a party that was included in polls was 1.7% compared to 0.4% for parties that were not included. On a per-candidate basis, small parties included in the polls averaged 3.4% support, compared to 0.9% for parties that were not included. And this despite the average slate of small parties included in the polls being 54.7%, only slightly higher than the 44.9% of parties not included in the polls.

In other words, parties included in polls did 3.8 times better than parties that were not, despite running only 1.2 times the candidates.

The Chief Electoral officer’s and the Parliamentary Committees warning to  that government involvement in leaders debates without accommodating smaller party Charter rights would be unconstitutional.


History of Litigation and Potential Paralysis of Debates (underline added)

Leaders’ debates already have a history of being litigated in Canadian courts. The Liberal majority’s proposal is a prescription for paralysis because it will ensure that this pattern of court challenges will continue, increase and, now, succeed. Government intervention in the organization of party leaders’ debates during general elections will only stymie efforts to connect interested voters to campaigning politicians because the debates will simply get bogged down in litigation. Typically, court proceedings have been in the form of a last-minute application by a minor party omitted from an otherwise agreed upon debate.

Once, the omission of a Green Party leader even saw a private prosecution initiated against television broadcasters.5 One of the earliest court cases on debates,Trieger et al. v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. et al.,6 covered many of the issues which remain relevant up to this day. That decision serves as a prelude to the issues which lie ahead for Canadian politics. In Trieger, the Green Party leader’s application was denied for, among other reasons, the fact that, as a private undertaking, the arrangements for party leaders’ debates were not subject to constitutional challenges. Subsequent cases concerning federal leaders’ debates followed the lead of Trieger, such as National Party of Canada v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp,7 Natural Law Party of Canada v. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,8 Gauthier v. Milliken et al.,9 and May v. CBC/Radio-Canada.10
5R. ex. rel. Vezina v. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation(1993), 84 C.C.C. (3d) 574 (Ont. C.A.), aff’g (1992), 72 C.C.C. (3d) 545 (Ont. Ct. Gen. Div.), aff’g an unreported decision (Ont. Ct. Prov. Div.).
6(1988), 66 O.R. (2d) 273 (H.C.J.).
7(1993), 144 A.R. 50 (Q.B.), aff’d (1993), 106 D.L.R. (4th) 575 (Alta. C.A.); application to expedite application for leave to appeal to S.C.C. denied, [1993] 3 S.C.R. 651.
8(1993), [1994] 1 F.C. 580 (T.D.).
92006 FC 570.
102011 FCA 130.

Court cases in the intervening years on other aspects of the Canadian electoral system, including (but certainly not limited to) Figueroa v. Canada (Attorney General),11 means that leaders’ debates will not only become subject to judicial oversight, by virtue of the Liberal majority’s recommendations, but they will be challenged from an ever-growing number of angles. At the end of the day, the critical final decisions on party leaders’ debates will be taken by judges—not by the political parties, not by broadcasters, and certainly not by the commission the Liberal majority is proposing. Judges have also recognized that this is not an ideal arrangement. Past rulings have hinted at the courts’ aversion to having this responsibility.

In Trieger, Mr. Justice Campbell stated, “There is an obvious practical difficulty here that candidates and leaders cannot be forced to debate. Debates must be negotiated by agreement.” In National Party of Canada, the applications judge, Mr. Justice Berger, wrote: Absent cogent evidence of mischief calculated to subvert the democratic process and absent evidence of statutory breach, this Court should not enter the broadcasting arena and usurp the functions of the broadcast media. The political agenda is best left to politicians and the electorate; television programming is best left to the independent judgment of broadcasters and producers. Despite that, the Liberal majority is setting up a collision course in the courts over the leaders’ debates in next year’s general election. Perhaps that is why the Liberal Government has determined that it needs to earmark $6-million for a sight-unseen debate commission—in order to pay the bills.
11[2003] 1 S.C.R. 912.
12PROC Evidence November 30, 2017 (Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief, CBC News and Michel Cormier, General Manager, News and Current Affairs, French Services, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

There are two precedents in federal elections for holding separate debates for smaller parties, in 1993 and 2000.

Leaders of smaller parties to have televised debate – The Globe and Mail

Fringe debate features less yelling, better karma – The Globe and Mail

Smaller and new party and independent candidates are regularly threatened with arrest for daring to ask to speak at local all candidates debates.

Police escort 2 uninvited candidates out of Ottawa-Vanier byelection debate
Candidates from Pauper Party of Ontario and None of the Above Party not invited to debate

Recently the Supreme Court of Canada ruled police have no right to arrest someone acting lawfully to prevent others from breaching the peace.

Supreme Court sides with Caledonia protester over unlawful arrest by OPP – Top justices overrule Court of Appeal and say Randy Fleming’s arrest a decade ago was unlawful

The Supreme Court decision notes Fleming had done nothing unlawful that day. “He had committed no crime. He had broken no law,” they determined. “He was not about to commit any offence, harm anyone, or breach the peace.”
The judges ruled there is no overarching common law power that gives police the right to arrest someone acting lawfully to prevent a breach of the peace by others.
“A free and democratic society cannot tolerate interference with the rights of law-abiding people as a measure of first resort,” they wrote.
“An intrusion upon liberty should be a measure of last resort.”

Ontario Court says it’s unconstitutional to exclude any candidates from election debates on public property

The ruling Friday, October 11, 2019 at 7:10 in the evening came four hours after the hearing for a two-part injunction application brought by self-represented Mississauga Centre riding Independent candidate Greg Vezina against the City of Mississauga regarding candidate debates and the removal of his campaign signs.

To be sure, if the City were to organize candidates’ debates… and decide to invite certain candidates to participate, while excluding others… I would not hesitate in granting… injunctive relief.”

— Ontario Superior Court Justice James Stribopoul

The None of the Above Direct Democracy Party of Ontario had a 2018 candidate list filled up with 42 competent people that could effectively run the Ontario government.

If elected we would start by asking the best MPPs or MPs from all parties to join our Cabinet while allowing them to sit with the parties who elected them. “We would change the partisan, party-based system of politicking in Ontario for one that respects your community.”
In the first 100 days we would pass every Bill where there is agreement or consensus among most MPPs or MPPs from all the parties elected. Then within the first six months we will send out a plebiscite information package on everything proposed by the government and its opposition, to voters who must reply within 30 days for the House to consider. We will consult experts.
We will spend the next six months passing Bills with the most public and MPP or MP support from the parties in the house. From then on NOTA would allow referendum, plebiscites or recall to decide everything else that we would pass using our majority.

“Talk about every vote counting, people in Ontario and Canada finally get to vote their principles and have it really matter.”

Thank you to our 2018 Ontario Provincial Election Candidates