Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, is staying on as head of the left-leaning party after garnering 76.4 percent support of the 800 delegates at a weekend convention in her Hamilton Centre provincial riding.
New Democrats are happy with Andrea Horwath as their leader, especially after gaining an additional seven seats in the Ontario Legislature in last autumn’s provincial election. Horwath survived a leadership review at this weekend’s party convention in Hamilton.
Of the 800 delegates that voted Saturday, Horwath was able gain the approval of 76.4 percent of them. The review is automatic following an election.
Under Horwath’s leadership, the NDP sent more Members of Provincial Parliament to Queen’s Park and the amount of voters has doubled by adding more than 18,000 new members since the last party convention. Horwath believes this is happening because Ontarians are craving for change and solutions to issues facing the province.
“People across Ontario know the same old politics aren't working. They know it's time for change and New Democrats are leading that change,” said Horwath in front of a packed crowd of delegates, according to a press release.
“We need a government that will work with business to create and protect jobs, not hand out tax giveaways to companies that ship jobs away. We need to work hard to protect our healthcare system, not just the paychecks of the CEOs who run it. We need to offer some relief to households struggling with the bills, instead of making life more expensive.”
Although neither the Progressive Conservatives nor the New Democrats won the election last year, both of the party’s delegates remain content with the leadership. Earlier this year, the PCs decided to stick with Tim Hudak as their leader as 78.7 percent of the 1,600 delegates voted in support of Hudak.
Ontario New Democratic Party candidate for Scarborough Rouge River, Neethan Shan.
Update: Former NDP candidate for Scarborough-Rouge River Neethan Shan, who lost by a slim 2,000-vote margin to Liberal MPP Bas Balkisson, has been elected as president of the Ontario NDP. He is also the vice-chair of the National Council of Canadian Tamils.
The Budget and Bob Rae
Horwath and her New Democrats have gained significant attention since Premier Dalton McGuinty and his Liberals introduced their budget. Hudak said his party will not support it and Horwath explained that she cannot vote for it unless some changes are made.
One of the NDP leader’s proposals is a two percent wealth surtax on individuals who earn more than $500,000. Horwath argues that this would generate $570 million per year in revenues and would go towards a cut of the eight percent provincial portion of the HST on home heating, it would provide a one percent increase to the Ontario Disability Support Plan and preserve 4,000 child care spaces.
Another proposal is a $250 million job creation tax credit.
During a stop in Hamilton Friday, former NDP Ontario Premier and interim Liberal leader Bob Rae criticized Horwath and the NDPs by claiming that they don’t realize Ottawa and Ontario suffer from fiscal issues.
Horwath responded to his remarks and told reporters that she is doing what is responsible for the people of Ontario.
“I'm trying to make a budget that was very unfair and unbalanced a little more fair and a little more focused on everyday families,” said Horwath, reports the Hamilton Spectator. “My choice is to walk away like the other party did (Progressive Conservatives) or to try to make this parliament work for Ontarians, and that is what I'm trying to do.”