Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Libertarian candidate Zork Hun, Parkdale-High Park
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Zork Hun is running for the Libertarian party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Parkdale-High Park 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?
- At a recent federal election I was so appalled by the available choices that I couldn’t make any.
- Since I take my civic responsibility seriously, I decided to get involved.
- When I came to Canada, I was simply an anti-communist but as I explored the issues I am interested in, I slowly drifted toward libertarianism. I resisted the label for a long time, but part of my decision to get involved was to embrace it. I consider myself to be a 'social libertarian' akin to Charles Murray. What this means is that my main concern is the damage that the state can cause to society.
- I am alarmed by our slow drifting toward socialism and I think I must speak up to warn those who have no idea what’s at the end of the road.
Why did you choose to run in this constituency?
- Because I live in it. It is among the most hostile ridings to our ideas, but I am not in this race to win. I am in it to represent an alternative. I am uncompromising in my ideas; I couldn’t possibly compromise on tactics by choosing a riding where I could have hoped for a few more votes.
- My riding has a few very distinct neighbourhoods. The one I live in (Roncesvalles village) is in the process of changing from ethnic/polish to yuppie/alternative. People full of misguided middle class guilt and an ear for the siren song of the NDP. Parkdale represents another solid NDP territory.
- High Park and Swansea are a little more to the right but still on the left side of middle.
- When you see a middle aged WASP man with Rastafarian hairdo and a “Bush is the real terrorist” T-shirt at an all candidates meeting, you know that you are not in libertarian territory.
- But as I said, I am here to stand up, not to win.
What prior political experience do you have?
- None. In my school years I was part of the communist youth organization leadership on both schools I attended but I really hope that nobody will hold this against me. I hope to have redeemed myself with the 9 months I spent in a communist jail as a political prisoner.
What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?
- The most important of my experiences is the close observation of the working of a communist country. I was working as a sociological research organizer working on several projects showing us how the benevolent condescension of the state can kill the spirit of civil society.
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why?
- The Libertarian Party advocates a minimal state for several reasons. We believe that a large state apparatus and ambitious government programs are bad for the economy, bad for civil society, bad for individual liberty. The most clearly statist party in Ontario is the NDP, promising anything without any consideration to cost, feasibility or to the potential damage the promised policy can cause. They are by far the most power hungry and the most aggressive in their pursuit of power.
Cheri DiNovo’s attitude exemplifies perfectly both the aggression and the irresponsibility, but it seems to work for her amazingly well.
What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
- I represent the only party with a coherent political philosophy, the only one that derives his policies consistently from moral axioms and well proven economic principles.
- We have simple, straightforward answers to every issue raised in this election. We base every one of our policies on:
- Faith in and respect for people
- Trust in the power of the free market
- Our commitment to non-coercive measures
- We represent a moral and practical alternative opposed to the policies to all three statist parties.
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?
- My impression from participating in All Candidates' Meetings is that the most important issue is income redistribution. Everybody wants somebody else to pay for what they want and the NDP is more than willing to promise anything to them.
- The second issue is Education. People seem to have a problem with the notion of religious education.
- The third issue is trust. My impression is that people do not know who to trust and are trying to figure out which of the candidates could be the most trustworthy manager. I don’t think people are looking for sweeping new programs, they just want competent managers.
- My top three issues are income transfers, government monopolies (especially in education) and accountability.
- The ongoing politics of governments taking money away from successful businesses and hard-working individuals just to hand it to badly managed businesses and special interest groups are causing untold amount of harm to the economy. (Also see my answer below on job creation) These direct money transfers should stop.
- The tag-line of our party says that we are ‘the party of choice’ To us, this does not mean that we want to change let’s say education or health care, we just want to open the door to change allowing people to make choices for themselves as individuals. This would include allowing private health care and insurance offerings and an unconditional educational voucher system. Allowing the market in is the only thing that can repair the problems of our health care and education systems.
- Accountability for me means a lot more than holding politicians and government bureaucrats responsible for their actions; it means to account for and justify the spending of every dollar they handle. Political parties can get away with waste because people do not know what the money is spent on.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- Introducing a bill requiring strict fiscal responsibility from all future governments setting very high requirements (75-80% of all MPPs) for the approval of any deficit spending
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- Absolutely not. Market value based assessment is fundamentally unfair. Since the very essence of the idea is unfair, how could we possibly talk about a fair level? The only ‘fair’ tax is one that is based on services or resource use – a combination of lot size – floor space and - # of inhabitants.
- If I reformulate your question to say “are the taxes you pay commensurate with the services you receive” the answer would be no. We are not getting $ 3,500. - worth of services from the city.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- By stopping the redistribution of income between businesses.
- A picture a few years ago on my tax return provided a telling example. On two pie charts we saw income and expenses. What was striking in the chart was the similarity in size of two items: the income from corporate taxes and the expense that is paid out as corporate subsidies. The income was 2-3% higher, but the similarity was still striking. What this means is that the government is taking away money from successful businesses and giving it to politically favoured ones.
- My answer would be the elimination of both corporate income tax and corporate welfare. The only function of the corporate income tax is to give more power to politicians. Individual taxpayers wouldn’t even notice the difference and a corporate-tax friendly environment would give a tremendous boost to the economy.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- My party is divided on the subject and I am personally right in the middle.
- I followed closely the work of the Citizens' Assembly, I even made a presentation.
- My presentation addressed the question of legitimacy, not the issue that is the question of the referendum.
- To the referendum question my position is a reluctant yes.
- The pros for the change are as follows:
- The new system reflects better the distribution of votes and therefore the will of the people.
- It will give a chance to smaller parties.
- It will create a more cooperative legislative environment by making it more difficult to have majority governments.
- The cons are the following:
- We will have more politicians with more causes to champion, more political supporters waiting for a payback for that support.
- We will have more deal making to make coalitions work resulting in more programs, more spending, higher taxes, less freedom.
- In the end we will have more politics and less freedom which is what we stand against. Yet for me the first argument for – the one saying that it represents the will of the voters better - tilts the scale toward the yes vote.
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?
- Not enough. Ask me again at the next election.
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?
- I pass on this one. I would have to study it more.