Jim Karahalios

Jim Karahalios

The first one through the wall, always gets bloody.

  • Below is a video of Steve Paikin (TVO's The Agenda) at the 2018 PC leadership convention describing the impact that Jim Karahalios, AxeTheCarbonTax.ca, and TakeBackOurPCParty.com, had on the 2018 Ontario PC leadership race.

  • An interview Jim Karahalios had with the Buy the Dog Podcast on the impact of his campaigns

  • What do they say about Jim?

Karahalios was instrumental in exposing problems at Tory candidate nomination elections, the policy-making process and other abuses of the party constitution. In response, the Tories filed an expensive legal action against him that a judge ruled was a SLAPP, a “strategic lawsuit against public participation” to stifle dissent. Yet under Brown, the party planned to appeal that decision. Things changed after he was forced to resign on Jan. 25 amid allegations of sexual impropriety. Fedeli, who has vowed to clean up the Brown-era “rot” in the party, said Karahalios had been unfairly treated and praised him for his “hard work to ensure that our party constitution is upheld.” ...

"Things have turned very much Jim Karahalios’s way lately, and they might not be done yet. If you haven’t heard of Karahalios, he was the noisy member of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives persecuted by his own party for refusing to let former leader Patrick Brown get away with making carbon taxes an official policy. Although Karahalios clearly spoke for most members, Brown was determined to stick with his carbon tax — and to muzzle Karahalios and his “Axe the Tax” campaign, which has since expanded to every province. Karahalios was even tossed out of PC events and stripped of his PC membership. With Doug Ford now leading the party into a spring election, the Ontario PC party looks less like Brown’s than it does Karahalios’s, who got his official apology (and the lawsuit appeal dropped) earlier this month from the party. And with Canada’s largest province looking like it might soon be on the same warpath as other provinces against the federal Liberals over the carbon tax, the whole country could soon look more like Karahalios’s sort of place than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s."

"When people say to me, what influence can one person have on the political process, you should read about Jim Karahalios, because that's one guy who frankly had a huge impact on nomination races being forced to be re-looked at, on the carbon tax, which was a significant part obviously of the People's Guarantee under Patrick Brown, and which now is a dead letter, as far as the PC party is concerned, at least going into the election... But at the moment the Axe The Tax campaign from Jim Karahalios, certainly at the end of the day, proved to be successful." 

- Steve Paikin, Host of The Agenda on TVO, March 10, 2018

"We want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Karahalios for his hard work to ensure that our Party Constitution is upheld and that all Party nomination contests are “open, public, and democratic” and in accordance with Ontario’s Election Act, and in his efforts to call for the re-opening of nominations that were not held in this fashion - as has now been done in Ottawa West-Nepean and Scarborough-Centre. No PC Party activist conducting grassroots campaigns in accordance with our Party’s constitution, should ever have to go through what Mr. Karahalios went through - barring him from our party’s convention, revoking his membership, and forcing him to defend against a frivolous and vexatious lawsuit."

- Vic Fedeli, Ontario's Minister of Finance, Statement on March 1, 2018 as Interim PC Party leader

"I came out against lawsuits against our own weeks ago, glad to see following my lead and welcoming Jim Karahalios back into the party - we’re stronger united."

- Doug Ford, Ontario Premier, on Twitter as PC leadership candidate, March 1, 2018

"When I am elected leader I will ask the board to reinstate membership. I will put an end to spending money on lawsuits against our own activists."

- Doug Ford, Ontario Premier, on Twitter as PC leadership candidate, February 12, 2018

"In a few short months, Karahalios has gone from outcast to something of the moral conscience of the party. His campaigns around carbon tax and party corruption became core ideas in the leadership campaign. Under ousted leader Patrick Brown, Karahalios was sued, stripped of his membership and booted out of the party's convention."

- Greg Mercer, The Waterloo Record, Tories want to heal rifts after divisive leadership race, March 12, 2018

"Since Brown’s downfall, Karahalios has been sending open letters about cleaning house in the Progressive Conservative party’s executive. After Brown went, he wrote that Dykstra had to go. After Dykstra went, he wrote that Fedeli needed to scrutinize the party’s membership list and reconsider the Brown-faced election platform."

- David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen, January 31, 2018

"Jim was banished from the party under Patrick Brown. Yet under Doug Ford, the issue Jim has tirelessly championed is priority number one for the new government."

- Anthony Furey, Toronto Sun

"All three Progressive Conservative leadership candidates have abandoned the carbon tax that generates the revenues to pay for promises in the party’s People’s Guarantee platform... The decision sounds the death knell for the People’s Guarantee just 75 days after the Star revealed its contents on Nov. 25 — and comes 119 days from the election. It is also a vindication for dissident activist Jim Karahalios’ grassroots “Axe the Carbon Tax” movement."

- Robert Benzie, Toronto Star, February 9, 2018

"On Friday, Ford announced that his first priority is to eliminate the Liberals’ cap-and-trade carbon-pricing scheme. He plans to do it right away, when he reconvenes the legislature in a few weeks for a special summer session. This is quite a remarkable turn of events, given that it was only a year ago that former leader Patrick Brown was a vocal champion of carbon taxes. The PCs under Brown even went so far in their wrongheadedness as to banish anti-carbon tax activist Jim Karahalios from the party over his advocacy."

- Anthoney Furey, Toronto Sun, June 15, 2018

"The problem is that Prime Minister Trudeau now faces a much different political environment than he apparently took for granted. A year ago, nine of 10 provinces were on board with the Liberal plan (though in some cases this meant agreeing to implement provincial versions). Today (as anti-carbon-tax campaigner Jim Karahalios happily pointed out this week in the Financial Post) Saskatchewan, the original renegade, has been joined in opposing Trudeau’s carbon-tax plan by Ontario and Prince Edward Island, with Newfoundland and New Brunswick signalling they too might bail. Alberta’s NDP government is four-square behind the plan, of course, but it’s very likely be toppled by the United Conservative Party next year, in part over this very issue."

- National Post Editorial Board, NP View, July 20, 2018

  • On Jim, AxeTheCarbonTax.ca, and TakeBackOurPCParty.com

Jim Karahalios is a conservative advocate and the founder of AxeTheCarbonTax.ca and TakeBackOurPCParty.com, two campaigns that helped shape Ontario's politics and have also helped to change the national narrative on carbon taxes.

Jim faced significant retribution for his campaigns.

In November of 2017, with the TakeBackOurPCParty.com campaign gaining traction and coming close to obtaining the necessary number of petitions from PC Party members in order to call a general meeting of the party and force a binding vote on a carbon tax and on overthrowing corrupt PC nominations, then PC leader Patrick Brown (who was an outspoken advocate in favour of a carbon tax and was leading the corrupt governance of the Ontario PC Party) ordered the Ontario PC Party executive to revoke Jim's membership in the party. 

Later that week, Jim was barred from entering Brown's pro-carbon tax convention (even though Jim offered to pay $1,000 and enter as a "non-member observer").

As if that wasn't enough, the party also sued Jim and both of his campaigns - the first time in Canadian history a political party has sued a private citizen. After 6 grueling weeks in court, the lawsuit was dismissed as an attempt to limit Jim's ability to participate in the political process on matters of public interest (SLAPP - strategic litigation against public participation).

The PC Party's spokesperson, Jeff Silverstein, explains the lawsuit in an article by QP Briefing in June of 2018:

"In 2017, when Patrick Brown was leader of the PC Party, the Superior Court threw out a legal case launched by the PC Party against Jim Karahalios, an outspoken critic of Patrick Brown and head of the 'Axe the Carbon Tax' and 'Take Back Our PC Party' campaigns ... The legal case that was filed was another misguided attempt by Patrick Brown to stifle dissent on party issues that are matters of public interest, and the court agreed, ruling it was a SLAPP – a 'strategic lawsuit against public participation.' The legislation put in place to deter SLAPP suits entitled Karahalios to 100% of his legal fees to be paid by the PC Party."

But that didn't stop others from trying to silence Jim and his campaigns. In January of 2018, Jim was refused a paid AxeTheCarbonTax.ca booth at the annual conference put on by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.

With Brown resigning as PC leader in disgrace, Jim's lawsuit was settled and he received a public apology from interim leader and now Ontario's Minister of Finance, MPP Vic Fedeli.

The day after Doug Ford (now Ontario's Premier) was elected as PC leader, Jim's membership was immediately reinstated in the Ontario PC Party. 

The above are only the most public events of the AxeTheCarbonTax.ca campaign over the last 17 months. The journey included many other challenges along the way.