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BC Election 2013

BC's Fringe Political Parties: Name Your Quest!

From Excalibur party's Arthurian values to Unparty's refusal to adopt any position. A Tyee guide.

Tom Hawthorn 11 May 2013TheTyee.ca

Veteran political reporter Tom Hawthorn is a member of The Tyee's political reporting team. Find his previous Tyee articles here.

A voter in B.C. confronts a fringe festival at the ballot box. The choices can be bewildering.

Nineteen parties have qualified to have their name on the ballot for Tuesday's election.

You've got the two parties most likely to form government (NDP and BC Liberals) and two minor parties (Greens and BC Conservatives) who might possibly win seats.

The other 15 parties range from old-time Communists and Social Creditors to one-issue lobby groups to completely whack-a-doodle exercises in ego and self-delusion.

B.C. LIBERTARIAN PARTY

The Libertarians believe laws and government stand in the way of happiness. They seek a Utopian world of unfettered capitalism and personal liberty. And good luck with that.

Candidates: Eight, the most among the fringe parties, all running in the Lower Mainland.

Leader: Vacant. Most prominent candidate is Paul Geddes, an economics instructor at Columbia College, which prepares international students for university. The son of Presbyterian missionaries, he is a former candidate for both the Libertarian and Marijuana parties provincially and federally.

Platform: End the Agricultural Land Reserve. Sell BC Hydro. Sell BC Transit. Sell BC Ferries. Sell BC Place Stadium. Privatize highways. Decriminalize recreational drugs. Get the government out of the bedrooms (and cars and alleyways) of the nation's sex workers.

Fun fact: One of the greatest experiences in Geddes' life was sitting beside the economist Milton Friedman at a meeting.

EXCALIBUR PARTY

The Excalibur Party takes its name from the sword of mythology. The party holds aloft the Arthurian values of truth, honour and justice.

Candidates: Six.

Platform: Cut PST by 2 per cent; ICBC refunds for young drivers; rail transit in Fraser Valley; ban fracking; ban salmon farming.

Leader: Michael Halliday, who is the party's founder, is running in Chilliwack.

Fun fact: If elected, Richmond East candidate Ping Chan, a professional engineer, promises to donate his MLA salary to charity. (Chan was nominated to be the Green candidate in the riding, but switched his allegiance to the Excalibur Party.)

BC VISION PARTY

Vision stands for unspecified positive changes to give our children a prosperous future. "We believe firmly there is no 'I' in team," the party states. For the record, it is worth noting there are two I's in vision.

Candidates: Four, all in Surrey ridings.

Motto: Chak de phatte, a Punjabi motivational saying meaning, roughly, "Just do it."

Leader: J.B. (Jag) Bhandari is a Surrey realtor who likes to see his name on the ballot. Five years ago, he ran simultaneously for a council seat in Surrey and the mayoralty of Whistler, even though the councils both meet on Monday nights. (He also doesn't ski.) He got three votes for mayor (of more than 2,800 cast), and finished 17th of 20 candidates for eight Surrey council seats. He is running in Surrey-Whalley.

Quote: "We should smile and smile and smile because smile is contagious."

COMMUNIST PARTY OF B.C.

A spectre is haunting the ballot box — the spectre of a formerly Moscow-aligned now pro-Chavez Marxist-Leninist group with a long history. The Communist Party seeks to close the gap between the ultra-rich and ordinary working people through a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Candidates: Four.

Platform: Workers of the world, unite.

Leader: Samuel Hammond. The retired industrial workers and journalist for the People's Voice newspaper is not running in this election.

Likes: Hugo Chavez.

Dislikes: Imperialism, kulak parasites, running-dog lackeys.

Claim to fame: At 92, the Communist Party of Canada is longer lived than the Soviet Union (1917-1991).

BRITISH COLUMBIA PARTY

The BC Party is a right-wing populist party that has as yet proven to be not too popular. It was formerly aligned with other like-minded parties in the BC Unity Party. When Unity dissolved, the BC Party returned to its former status. It stands for low taxes and fiscal responsibility.

Candidates: Three.

Leader: Vacant. Wilf Hanni is a former leader who left to join the BC Conservatives. Hanni is now leader of the Christian Heritage Party.

Fun fact: The party's candidate in Skeena is Trevor Hendry of Terrace, a centreman (now converted to a right winger) who played four seasons in the Western Hockey League.

BC FIRST

The BC First Party wants the premier elected on a province-wide ballot. It also wants to do away with the parliamentary system of party politics and favours referendums and direct democracy. The party's leader was active in the anti-HST movement.

Candidates: Two.

Leader: Sal Vetro is founder and leader of BC First. He is running in Vancouver-False Creek. Vetro is a HandyDart driver who ran for the federal Canadian Alliance Party in 2000 and for the BC Unity Party the following year.

Policy: The party wants the province to adopt a Hybrid Swiss System of government. That might sound cuckoo to some, but if it involves cheese and chocolate it will find support.

Promise: "The BC First is not out to become an overnight political wonder."

BC MARIJUANA PARTY

The BC Marijuana Party promotes the decriminalization of the province's No. 1 cash crop. The party also promotes renewable energy and a libertarian approach to governance.

Candidates: Two.

Leader: Party leader Marc Emery is serving a five-year prison term for distributing marijuana seeds after what he describes, with some evidence, as a politically-motivated prosecution. He is jailed in a medium-security facility at Yazoo City, Mississippi. His wife Jodie Emery, the party's spokesperson, is running for the Green party this election.

Sneaky: The party's listed website of bcmarijuanaparty.com takes you to Cannabis Culture online magazine, which displays advertisements for cannabis seeds and other products.

Munchies: When the Georgia Straight asked Vancouver-Mount Pleasant candidates their opinion about the anti-gentrification protests aimed at PiDGiN restaurant, William Austin said the restaurant's prices were affordable, like Denny's. He thought the protests should desist.

CHRISTIAN HERITAGE PARTY

A branch of the federal party is making its first foray into a provincial campaign. They happen to be doing so in a province with many non-Christians and non-believers, a tough cross to bear.

Candidates: Two.

Leader: Wilf Hanni, a supervisor of oil- and gas-drilling operations, has previously been leader of the Reform Party of B.C., the British Columbia Party, and the BC Conservative Party. He failed in an attempt to win a Social Credit nomination back in the day. He is not running in this campaign.

Mission: To get government off our backs and Judeo-Christian values into our lives. Oh, and to stop abortion.

Fun fact: Rod Taylor, the party's candidate in Stikine, is running two commercials on local television station CFTK.

PLATINUM PARTY

The Platinum Party of Employers Who Think and Act to Increase Awareness is a mouthful.

Candidates: Somehow, two.

Leader: Party treasurer Espavo Sozo is interim leader. He is running in Vancouver-Langara.

Policy: Calls for "psychic forensic political investigators" to curb government abuse.

Platform: "As an outsider looking in at the operation of the government, it is mind boggling to try and figure it all out!" That's the same feeling you get when reading the party's mission statement.

Fun fact: The party's all-text website includes sentences rendered in eight different colours. Yes, the party's name is rendered in a platinum-like hue.

UNPARTY

Unparty: The Consensus-Building Party is another newcomer on the provincial scene. It calls for the creation of riding-by-riding, consensus-building, town-hall meetings.

Candidates: Two -- the husband-wife team of Chanel Donovan and Mike Donovan, both contesting Richmond ridings.

Positions: "We, personally, take no positions on healthcare, education, etc."

Slogan: "Unparty -- the name is different because we are different."

Fun fact: According to Richmond News, Mike Donovan beams a "Vote Unparty" message from a projector in his car onto a concrete pillar of the Canada Line after nightfall.

WORK LESS PARTY

Let other parties brag about creating jobs. The Work Less Party stands -- well, sits -- for shortening the work week, adding paid holidays, and reducing industrial work.

Leader: Conrad Schmidt is a filmmaker who founded the Work Less Party and also is credited with creating the clothing-optional World Naked Bike Ride. He couldn't be bothered to run in this election.

Candidates: Two.

Slogan: Workers of the world, relax.

YOUR POLITICAL PARTY OF BC

Your Political Party wants to eliminate the influence of party politics. It calls for all budget items and all governmental contracts to be posted online for the scrutiny of British Columbians.

Leader: James Filippelli is an electrical foreman who works in residential highrise construction.

Candidates: Two.

Slogan: "Representing you, your views, and your tax dollars."

Fun fact: In a video extolling the virtues of his party, Filippelli calls on the public to join up so that Your Political Party can form government in 2017.

ADVOCATIONAL PARTY

The Advocational International Democratic Party of British Columbia wants to hold a lottery to select ordinary people to represent the province in the Canadian Senate in Ottawa.

Leader: Lillian Stokes, a financial advisor from Langley.

Candidates: Two.

Fun fact: The Advocational Party lists assets worth $2.8 million. It has no website. The candidates seem not to campaign.

HELPING HAND PARTY

Mission statement: "We believe that helping others unconditionally provides for a meaningful existence."

Leader: Alan Saldanha is running in Surrey-Newton.

Candidates: One.

Fun fact: Saldanha was the federal Green candidate in Fleetwood-Port Kells in 2011 when he was dumped for an offensive statement on his Facebook page. He had listed as his favourite quote: "If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it!"

SOCIAL CREDIT

Social Credit ran British Columbia for all but three years from 1952-1991. A dynasty launched by W.A.C. Bennett was responsible for the creation of BC Hydro and BC Ferries, as well as the founding of universities in Victoria and Burnaby.

Leader: The party has not had an official leader in 13 years.

Candidates: One.

Fun fact: Carrol B. Woolsey, a realtor, is the party's only candidate. She's running in Vancouver-Hastings, which was barren ground for Social Credit even during the party's glory years. The upside of her party's poor fortune is she says she is no longer heckled at public meetings.  [Tyee]

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