On Jan. 14, Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario, Greg Essensa, de-registered the New Reform Party of Ontario. New Reform is the former Family Coalition Party which reconstituted itself in late 2014. According to a release from the New Reform Party, last August Elections Ontario stating they were ready to de-register the party if a copy of New Reform’s audited paperwork for the previous year was not provided. An audited report was sent on Sept. 4.

Party leader James Gault said Essensa used his “discretionary powers” when he de-registered New Reform four months later, claiming he did not receive the paperwork. All parties are required to file financial reports annually.

Gault says he provided evidence that they had sent the audited report, “but thus far my appeal has fallen on deaf ears.”

While the party’s executive board seek to have New Reform reinstated as an officially recognized party, Gault will contest the Feb. 11 Whitby-Oshawa by-election as an independent “to give New Reform supporters the chance to vote for the policies and principles we hold dear.”

Gault says that New Reform has not had a central office since January 2014, which makes it difficult “to coordinate communication between our executive officers, auditor and (Elections Ontario).” He said that because the party had not heard from Elections Ontario from when they sent their financial report in September to early January, when the New Reform Party was still listed on the Elections Ontario website as registered, they assumed there were no problems with their paperwork. After Gault sought to register as an official party on Jan. 11 following the by-election call, Elections Ontario informed Gault the New Reform Party was no longer registered. “They appear to have lost or misplaced the email” containing the relevant information.

As part of the by-election race, Gault plans to erect signs about “stopping the sex-ed agenda of Kathleen Wynne.” The $4,000 campaign will feature 100 large signs at major intersections in the Whitby-Oshawa riding, and 500 lawn signs for property owners. They also hope to run radio and newspaper ads and distribute brochures door-to-door. “This will give us exposure needed to bring our issues to the forefront of the election.” Gault vows, “I am not going to stop because of de-registration.”