Independent candidates in the 1999 Ontario provincial election

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There were a number of independent candidates in the 1999 Ontario provincial election, none of whom were elected. Some of these candidates have their own biography pages; information on others may be found here.

This page also covers independent candidates who campaigned in by-elections between 1999 and 2003.


Peterborough: Kenneth T. Burgess[edit]

Kenneth T. Burgess was a school teacher in Toronto before moving to Peterborough and was the creator of a self-help teaching service. He was a perennial candidate, having run for public office on at least six occasions, he died in May 2001.[1]

He took the Peterborough County School Board to court in 1989, after the board appointed an unelected replacement to fill a vacancy, he argued that either a by-election should have been called, or he should have been appointed as the runner-up candidate from the last board election. (The chair of the board responded that the appointment of another applicant was appropriate and that a by-election would have been "extremely expensive.")[2] Burgess was later convicted of forging some of the signatures on his nomination papers when he ran for school trustee again in the 1991 municipal election;[3] because of this conviction, he was barred from running for Mayor of Peterborough in 1997.[4]

Burgess was sixty-five years old during his final run for office in 2000.[4] During this election, he called for the City of Peterborough to offer free land to create development and reduce business tax levels. Incumbent mayor Sylvia Sutherland dismissed this practice as being illegal in Ontario.[5]

He is not to be confused with Ken Burgess, a former mayor Brandon, Manitoba.

Electoral record
Election Division Party Votes % Place Winner
1981 provincial Peterborough Independent 59 0.15 6/6 John Turner, Progressive Conservative
1985 municipal Mayor of Peterborough[6] n/a Sylvia Sutherland
1988 municipal school trustee n/a
1991 municipal school trustee n/a
1999 provincial Peterborough Independent 125 0.23 6/7 Gary Stewart, Progressive Conservative
2000 municipal Mayor of Peterborough n/a 252 0.93 4/4 Sylvia Sutherland

Sudbury: Ed Pokonzie[edit]

Ed Pokonzie is a perennial candidate for political office, having campaigned in federal, provincial and municipal elections. He first ran for election municipally in 1991.[7]

Pokonzie was a city employee and labourer in Calgary, Alberta in the early 1980s, he was fired in 1981 for failing to pass a "permanency" medical test, and later became involved in a complicated legal challenge regarding his dismissal.[8] He then moved to Ontario, and settled in the city of Sudbury, he launched a $5 million lawsuit against the Government of Ontario in 1999, citing wrongful treatment over his failure to obtain compensation for workplace injuries. The suit was dismissed in 2004.[9] In 2000, Pokonzie identified himself as a former truck driver on a disability pension.[10]

Pokonzie is often described as a social activist, and has called for a grassroots approach to city politics,[11] he was an early supporter of amalgamation, though he also called for smaller centres to retain their local identity in the new city of Greater Sudbury.[10] He also supported a light transit system, and pay-for-service assessment.[12] Pokonzie called for the municipal administration to be restructured in 2003, arguing that there were six different agencies overseeing water quality without anyone having effective management authority.[13]

Pokonzie is known for wearing a beret bedecked with medals while campaigning.[14]

Electoral record
Election Division Party Votes % Place Winner
1991 municipal
1993 federal Sudbury Independent 129 0.30 8/9 Diane Marleau, Liberal
1995 provincial Sudbury Independent 123 0.40 7/7 Rick Bartolucci, Liberal
1997 municipal Regional Chair Peter Wong
1998 municipal by-election Regional Chair Frank Mazzuca
1999 provincial Sudbury Independent 159 0.43 5/6 Rick Bartolucci, Liberal
2000 municipal Mayor of Greater Sudbury n/a not listed <1 5/6 Jim Gordon
2003 municipal Mayor of Greater Sudbury n/a 67 0.12 13/14 David Courtemanche
2006 municipal Mayor of Greater Sudbury n/a 92 0.17 6/7 John Rodriguez

Windsor—St. Clair: Ralph Kirchner[edit]

Kirchner was 28 years old at the time of the election, a lifelong Windsor resident, and a Chrysler worker. On announcing his candidacy, he promised to bring more democracy to the political system if elected. Kirchner advocated expanding the public health care system to cover dental care, prescription drugs and eyeglasses, he denied being a radical in his views, and claimed he entered the race out of frustration with Ontario's partisan system. (Windsor Star, 19 May 1999) He received 263 votes (0.68%), finishing fifth out of six candidates. The winner was Dwight Duncan of the Ontario Liberal Party.

by-election candidates[edit]

Beaches—East York, 20 September 2001: Kevin Mark Clarke[edit]

Clarke is a perennial candidate for public office in Toronto. See his biography page for more information.


  1. ^ Lois Tuffin, "Remember Jeff Ruhl? Well, you should," Peterborough This Week, 29 October 2003, p. 11.
  2. ^ Julia Nunes, "Board taken to court for appointing trustee," Globe and Mail, 13 June 1989, A18.
  3. ^ "Peterborough school candidate charged," Globe and Mail, 9 November 1991, A7; Joseph Kim, "Clarke declares bid for another term," Peterborough Examiner, 16 July 2000, B1.
  4. ^ a b "Walk in the park for Mel, Hazel," Cambridge Reporter, 14 November 2000, A8.
  5. ^ Joseph Kim, "Economic issues fuel debate," Peterborough Examiner, 20 October 2000, A1.
  6. ^ Burgess's candidacy is referenced in Rudy Platiel, "Leaders defeated all over the province," Globe and Mail, 13 November 1985, A1.
  7. ^ Ed Pokonzie, "Amalgamated city can work if given the chance: Pokonzie", Sudbury Star, 2 November 2006, A7.
  8. ^ Pokonzie attempted to bring his case to his union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 37, but union president Ron Brown refused to take the case to arbitration. The Alberta Labor Relations Board later ruled that Brown did not provide Pokonzie with fair representation, and ordered the local to take the case to arbitration; however, the statute of limitations for Pokonzie's challenge had elapsed by this time. Pokonzie later sued his union for $220,000 over the matter; the case was still pending in 1991. See Dick Schuler, "Ex-city laborer battles legal limbo", Calgary Herald, 27 December 1991, B3.
  9. ^ Denis St. Pierre, "Mayoral candidate's lawsuit dismissed", Sudbury Star, 16 August 2004, A3; this article notes that Pokonzie also launched suits against the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 1996 and the Sudbury District Roman Catholic Separate School Board in 1997.
  10. ^ a b "Pokonzie to run for mayor's job", Sudbury Star, 6 October 2000, A3.
  11. ^ Chris Polehoykie, "Garbage hot topic at mayoral debate", Sudbury Star, 31 October 2000, A1.
  12. ^ Chris Polehoykie, "Candidates a sincere, but inexperienced, group", Sudbury Star, 12 November 2000, A3; Ed Pokonzie, "Amalgamated city can work if given the chance: Pokonzie", Sudbury Star, 2 November 2006, A7.
  13. ^ Bob Vaillancourt, "I can make city work: Pokonzie", Sudbury Star, 18 October 2003, A3.
  14. ^ Bob Vaillancourt, "Dupuis, Portelance pull away from crowd", Sudbury Star, 14 November 2000, A9.