Candidate runs under Consensus Ontario banner
By Chad Ingram
Published May 17, 2018
Chuck MacMillan says the partisan political system fails Ontarians, since MPPs become beholden to the directives of their parties, often forgetting about the priorities of their ridings along the way.
That’s why MacMillan, the latest candidate to enter the provincial race in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, is running as a member of Consensus Ontario, a new political party founded in 2016.
The party’s main goal is to eliminate all political parties, including itself, and to replace the existing system with one comprised of entirely of independent MPPs.
MacMillan says that party politics prevent elected representatives from truly acting in the best interests of their constituents.
“They get to Queen’s Park, and it’s a dictatorship,” says MacMillan, a Lindsay resident who’s a chief custodian with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. “There’s no room for compromise.”
Consensus Ontario, which is running a handful of candidates in the June 7 election, advocates for a consensus-based form to governing, which MacMillan explains would rely on residents of a riding to set the priorities of their independent MPP.
“There will be surveys done in the ridings,” he says, adding that surveys would allow constituents to create a list of ways they’d most like to see provincial money spent within their ridings. “What comes out of that survey will be shaped by people in the riding.”
Consensus Ontario’s platform was also shaped by surveys and the top priorities listed on its website – consensusontario.ca – include removing the party system; introducing a single rate for electricity; reducing emergency room wait times and eliminating doctor and nurse shortages; and a “back-to-basics” school curriculum.
MacMillan explains that making more family doctors available will help to reduce wait times at the province’s emergency rooms, and says that one way of addressing the physician shortage is to make it easier for foreign-trained doctors to become accredited to practise in Ontario.
The party’s “back-to-basis” educational plan includes an emphasis on mathematics and language, maintaining the importance of legible handwriting, and removing smartphones and other distracting technology from the classroom.
Under the independent representation being proposed by the party, not only would all MPPs sit as independents, but the premier would be chosen by MPPs from amongst themselves, rather than by general election. There would also a mechanism to allow MPPs to change the premier, should that be the consensus.
“If they’re not doing a good job, they can remove them,” MacMillan says. Similarly, cabinet ministers would be elected by MPPs, rather than appointed.
“The remaining MPPs now become the opposition, so there’s still going to be debates,” MacMillan says, “but we stop all this in-house fighting between parties.”
On whether such a system would use the existing electoral ridings or require boundaries to be redrawn, “that would be something that would have to be looked at,” MacMillan says.
While MPPs would be guided by a list priorities set by their constituents, major decisions – the privatization of Hydro One is an example cited by MacMillan – would be put to referendums.
“I don’t think Kathleen Wynne should have made that decision about Hydro One,” he says. “Once you start privatizing, you don’t have control anymore.”
MacMillan says decisions of that magnitude should not be left up to a single party.
“No party should have the right to sell off anything, without going to the public.”
On longtime MPP Laurie Scott, who’s the PC candidate, MacMillan says, “Laurie’s done a lot of good things in the past. I just find it’s time for change.”
MacMillan says he’s happy to talk to anyone about himself and Consensus Ontario. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.