Don Francis is a Canadian politician and political activist. A member of the New Democratic Party for many years, he later joined the Green Party and was the party's National Campaign Facilitator for the 1993 federal election. He was an educator in private life, and served on the Ottawa Board of Education.
He was a trustee on the Ottawa Board of Education from 1972 to 1985, and served as its acting chair for a time (Ottawa Citizen, 16 September 1985). In 1983, he chaired a provincial government taskforce that looked into proposals for French-language education in Ontario. The taskforce approved the Bill Davis government's decision to guarantee student access to French-language education, but argued that plans for addition minority-language trustees would be unworkable (Globe and Mail, 23 September 1983). Francis later supported plans for provincial AIDS education in 1985 (Ottawa Citizen, 28 September 1985).
Political career Edit
Francis campaigned for the New Democratic Party of Ontario in the 1971 provincial election, and lost to Progressive Conservative Claude Bennett in Ottawa South. He also campaigned for the federal NDP three times, twice losing to high-profile Progressive Conservative Perrin Beatty.
He was defeated in the 1985 election, during which he was listed as 43 years old (Ottawa Citizen, 5 November 1985). He attempted to return to the Board of Education in 1988, but was again defeated (Ottawa Citizen, 15 November 1988).
Francis wrote several Letters to the Editor on constitutional issues and foreign affairs while living in Ottawa. In 1986, he called for the federal government of Brian Mulroney to cancel American cruise missiles tests in Canada (Globe and Mail, 8 July 1986). He also wrote letters on separatist tensions in Sri Lanka in 1987 and 1988 (eg. Ottawa Citizen, 10 November 1987).
Chris Lea was the nominal Green Party leader for the 1993 federal election, but Francis was its chief spokesperson and ran the party's national campaign from his Ottawa home (Ottawa Citizen, 6 October 1993). Two of his children, Sarah and Simon, were also GPC candidates in the election.
1993 election Edit
During the 1993 election, Francis strongly criticized a recent change in federal law that increased mandatory candidate deposits from $200 to $1,000. He argued that the increase was discriminatory against smaller parties, and observed that his own party had had difficulty fielding candidates in some areas. He decided to campaign in the Alberta riding of Calgary West against Jim Hawkes, who chaired the parliamentary committee which recommended the change (Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 7 October 1993). He finished seventh, as future Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Reform Party defeated Hawkes to win the riding.
Francis campaigned for the GPC leadership in 1996, and lost to Wendy Priesnitz (Globe and Mail, 12 August 1996). He does not appear to have played a significant role in political affairs since this time, but is a notable campaigner for duck awareness.