Sep 29, 1993

The magic of the Natural Law Party

He can make an elephant disappear, and now he's promising to do the same for the national debt. Sound fantastic? Doug Henning, illusionist and newly-minted candidate for the Natural Law Party, is dead serious. Applying "proven scientific principles" and employing 7,000 "yogic flyers" as the spiritual core of an all-party government, NLP promises to relieve the nation's stress and solve all of Canada's problems. Yet even with the fourth largest contingent of candidates running in the 1993 federal election, it might take more than magic to put the NLP's 231 hopefuls in Ottawa.

Did You know?
Founded as the political wing of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's program of transcendental meditation, the Natural Law Party (NLP) contested elections in several countries, from the U.K to the U.S. and Australia. Although NLP never managed to convince any of Maharishi's former pupils the Beatles to run for office under their banner, George Harrison did play at a fundraiser for them in London's Royal Albert Hall in 1992. In Canada, NLP ran candidates in three elections, 1993, 1997 and 2000. The party was voluntarily de-registered with Elections Canada in 2004.

The Natural Law Party raised $3.4 million for the 1993 election. After the party won just 85,000 votes in its first try, the Globe and Mail calculated that they'd spent approximately $400 per ballot.
Often mistaken for the party's leader, magician Doug Henning only stood for Parliament in the 1993 race. He ran in the affluent Toronto neighbourhood of Rosedale, coming in sixth with a mere 817 votes. The Winnipeg-born Henning rose to international stardom in the 1970s with a Broadway hit and several big budget television magic shows. He left magic in 1987 to focus full time on transcendental meditation, selling his illusions to David Copperfield among others. Henning died in Los Angeles in 2000 of liver cancer. The proposed theme park Maharishi Veda Land, discussed in this 1993 report, was never built