Karahalioses’ New Blue party gets certified

By Sabrina Nanji February 1, 2021

It’s official: the New Blues are Ontario’s latest political party.

When the house reconvenes later this month, Independent MPP Belinda Karahalios will sit as an (unrecognized) member of the New Blue Party of Ontario, now that the nascent party she started with her husband Jim Karahalios has been officially registered by Elections Ontario. The legislature’s website was also updated to note the MPP for Cambridge’s new affiliation.

As first reported by Queen’s Park Today, the New Blues got the stamp of approval on January 7. The Karahalioses have been relatively quiet about the news — they haven’t yet put out any press releases or social media posts.

That’s because Jim was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the same form of cancer Terry Fox had. He told QPT he’s already undergoing chemotherapy and his doctors are treating it as cureable.

Certifying the New Blues was “a little bit of bright news” after “life going upside down,” Karahalios said.

“There’s a lot of frustrated Blue voters that are just done with the Ontario PC Party,” he went on to say.

The next step is to get Ontarians familiar with the budding party and establish riding associations. Karahalios said there’s “heavy interest” where Belinda currently represents in Cambridge (and where she’ll fly the New Blue banner in 2022), but it’s unlikely the party will be able to run candidates in all 124 ridings for the next scheduled election. Karahalios said the party is sussing out where it has the most grassroots supporters and will target those ridings during the campaign.

The Karahalioses had to collect at least 1,000 signatures from eligible Ontario voters to make it official. They say the New Blue camp is a home for those who want to fight political corruption, which Jim charged “got worse under Doug Ford.” More broadly, the New Blues are about defending taxpayers, small business, places of worship and democracy.

The pair have had their fair share of grievances with the PC Party — Belinda was turfed from caucus last summer for voting against Bill 195, the emergency-power legislation she called an “unnecessary overreach.” Her husband Jim meanwhile sued the PCs alleging their last party executive election was rigged against him; he also came out swinging against the Tories’ stance on a carbon tax during the Patrick Brown era.

Some PCs have said they aren’t sweating the potential competition. One Tory insider called it “petty vengeance” from “the Jim and Belinda show.”