Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Libertarian candidate Alan Mercer, Scarborough—Rouge River
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Alan Mercer is running for the Ontario Libertarian Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Scarborough—Rouge River riding. Wikinews' Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.
Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.
Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process? Why did you choose to run in this constituency?
- I live in Scarborough—Rouge River. I'm involved in the political process because of my desire to promote the message of individual liberty during provincial and federal elections, and to help build the libertarian political movement in Ontario and Canada. There is more information about me at http://www.libertarian.on.ca/Elec2007/A_Mercer.htm and http://www.thestar.com/ontarioelection/ridings/candidateprofile/252984 and http://www.canadianliberty.com/blog
What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?
- I ran in the provincial by-election in Scarborough—Rouge River in 2005, and I was a candidate in the 2006 federal election for the Libertarian Party of Canada. I was elected to the Board of Directors of the Libertarian Party of Canada in May, 2005, and I was appointed president of the LPC in February, 2006. I have also served on the executive of the Ontario Libertarian Party. I have had opportunities to explain libertarian principles and positions to various media.
- I helped to write the Ontario Libertarian Party's current environment policy and the Libertarian Party of Canada's current platform
- I have contributed press releases for both the Ontario LP and LP of Canada, which include "Scarborough-Rouge River Libertarian on crime, restitution, foreign policy and civil liberties", "Block the Extradition of Marc Emery: The War on Drugs is a War on Liberty", "Libertarian Party Rejects 'Smart Growth' as a Dumb Idea", "Ontario Organ Donation Bill Seeks Government Ownership of your Body", "Response to the Liberal Government's Agenda", "Response to Statements in the Liberal Throne Speech Concerning Education", and "Thalidomide Cancer Drug Only 9 Cents in Brazil while Canadians Spend their Life Savings".
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why? What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
- The incumbent has all the advantage, and after that the NDP candidate and Conservative candidate in that order. Literally, there is no other candidate in the riding who is even going to come close to presenting a libertarian message. My candidacy represents liberty and allows the electors to hear this message. The Conservatives do not even come close to voicing free market positions or any opposition to infringements on personal liberties and property rights – such as the Smoke-Free Ontario Act or the Greenbelt Act or the Liberals forcing teens to stay in school until they’re 18. The major political parties still advocate price controls on the economy and the Greens are just the most extreme kind of control-freak mentality that the major parties represent with their corporatist-socialist policies. There is a complete vacuum and libertarians need to get involved right now and get their own pro-liberty message out to the Canadian public which is starved of this.
What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues that are most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?
- I'd say that poverty, education and the economy are all important issues to both myself and to voters. The welfare state mentality, along with forced wealth transfer through taxation, and restrictions on people through ever-increasing authoritarian regulations are just going to push us towards worse conditions. I advocate the separation of school and state. People should not be forced to pay for the public or separate school system if they do not want to use it. Property tax is highly unjust and oppressive and should be abolished. I oppose the Tory plan to impose government control over faith-based schools.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- Rolling back government taxes and regulations. Increasing opportunities for health care and educational freedom. Liberty in all areas of life. Justice reform so that the needs of victims of crime are addressed through the principle of restitution.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- No property tax is fair. Property tax violates property rights, and they oppress those who are least able to afford them. People need to be able to pay for the services they use and opt out of those they don’t.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- Free up the economy. Eliminate price controls such as minimum wage and rent controls, which respectively stop people from finding low-wage employment and stop landlords from being able to maintain low-income housing. Eliminate the professional monopolies that impose one standard for certification and lock out immigrants from the economy. Let young people into the economy and stop imprisoning them in schools if they would rather work or start their own businesses. Reduce taxes and reduce the size of government drastically right now.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- If MMP leads to more diversity in the legislature and allows more representation by smaller parties (they need to pass 3% which is still a real obstacle), that may be a positive thing, but the proposed system may also decrease the level of representation in parts of Ontario, and there is a problem with accountability to the electorate. Unfortunately, MMP is a distraction from freedom issues, i.e. personal sovereignty vs. authoritarianism. To reform our society in a libertarian direction, since we have to appeal to the majority anyway, I think political libertarians should consider the pros and cons of direct democracy. In other words, each citizen being their own representative in a virtual legislature. This may act as a check on the power of government through allowing more voices of dissent, more ideological diversity and more opinions to be heard in the legislature. I don’t believe things are really heading this way with MMP. MMP might have the opposite effect and empower the establishment parties even more. But a movement towards direct democracy could open up an opportunity for libertarians to appeal more directly to the public rather than to the special interests who use the major parties to milk the public.
What role, if any, does “new media” play in your campaign, and the campaign of your party? (websites, blogs, Facebook, YouTube videos, etc) Do you view it as beneficial, or a challenge?
- I think new media is a critical element in our campaign. Our website www.libertarian.on.ca is central to our campaign. We use mailing lists. I make use of my personal blog www.canadianliberty.com/blog as much as possible. Also we have started to make use of Facebook through the "Libertarian Party of Canada" group. The OLP and LPC are still small parties, but I think we can make more and better use of the Internet if we grow in our volunteer base.
Of the decisions made by Ontario's 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your this electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your this riding? To the province as a whole?
- There is some really destructive provincial legislation from the point of view of people who care about the liberty and personal responsibility of Ontario’s citizens. One example is Bill 52, Education Amendment Act (Learning to Age 18), 2006 which suspends the drivers’ licenses of 16-18 year olds who don’t stay in school. And also of course the infamous Smoke-Free Ontario Act which copy-cats the rest of the world’s efforts to crack down on personal freedoms. I could go on and on. Bill 56, Emergency Management Statute Law Amendment Act, 2006 is a direct threat to civil liberties in the event of a flu pandemic or other excuse. The Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004 interferes with the rights of landowners. The Clean Water Act, 2006 interferes even more with private property rights.
- Bills can be found here: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_all.do?locale=en
- Botton line: the government of Ontario is giving itself more and more power over our lives – over land, over homes, over educational decisions, over personal decisions. As a libertarian, I fundamentally object to this whole massive system of centralized control which has been growing for decades, and believe it’s time for society to move in the opposite direction towards decentralized person-to-person systems of rights protection.
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