Ontario’s Family Coalition Party has 35 candidates committed to run so far in the upcoming provincial election and hopes to have one in every riding by the time Oct. 10 arrives.

Leader Giuseppi Gori, speaking to The Interim after the FCP’s 20th anniversary convention in Mississauga April 14, said many of the party’s candidates tend to emerge at the last-minute, so he foresees a great increase over the current number in the coming months. A candidate information session is planned for them at some point in the near future.

He noted interest in the provincial election is increasing because of the absence of an election at the federal level. Also, talk of provincial electoral reform is drawing more people into the political process.

On April 15, a citizens’ assembly appointed by the Ontario government decided that a referendum question to be put to voters in the Oct. 10 election should ask whether they want to adopt a system used in Germany and New Zealand called “mixed member proportional.” Advocates say the system will give the province a more co-operative government and could prompt electoral change across the country.

Under the proposed system, voters would have two choices on a ballot – one for a local representative and another for a political party – and the number of seats in the legislature would swell from 103 to 129. The mixed member system would mean “fringe” parties that received more than three per cent of the popular vote would have a better chance of having at least one seat in the legislature.

It is this latter feature that appeals particularly to Gori. “We would need 2.6 per cent of the vote to elect one MPP,” he calculated, adding that is “very possible” the party could pick up four per cent of the vote, with up to 15-25 per cent in future elections. This time, “We could elect anywhere from two to five MPPs,” he said. “We’re very optimistic for the future, to have a voice for life and family at Queen’s Park.”

Gori did express concerns about the potential for the proportional representation process to be tainted by politicization, especially the imposition of “equality” provisions that would mandate allegedly disadvantaged groups be allotted a disproportionately high number of seats. It is known that the now-disbanded Law Commission of Canada favoured such provisions.

“The process shouldn’t include equality provisions,” said Gori. “We hope it is not influenced by left-wing propaganda.”

He added the adoption of the mixed member proportional system would blunt the arguments of some pro-life, pro-family voters that a vote for the FCP is a wasted one because it has no chance of electing an MPP. Under the system, the election of at least one MPP is virtually assured.