A TRI­UMPH FOR THE NDP

The Or­ange wave is nowhere near crest­ing with the more than dou­bling their seats and com­ing within 500 votes of beat­ing the PCs in half a dozen rid­ings

NOW Magazine - - NEWSFRONT - By SU­SAN G. COLE

As leader of the op­po­si­tion, An­drea Hor­wath will be get­ting the air time re­quired to at­tract vot­ers.

Is your nose killing you from hold­ing it too hard when Thurs­day’s elec­tion re­sults came rolling in? Or are you just plain sick to your stom­ach? If you’re an NDP sup­porter, check out the long game and you’ll con­sider last week a true tri­umph.

Aside from more than dou­bling the party’s num­ber of seats – car­ry­ing the most in nearly 25 years, a sign in it­self of a sig­nif­i­cant surge – newly minted op­po­si­tion leader An­drea Hor­wath is in a po­si­tion to be in the new premier’s face in a way that can only mean more seats – and the premier­ship – the next time we go to the polls.

Of course I’m bummed that Doug Ford is On­tario premier – the next four years will be painful. A ma­jor­ity makes him more dan­ger­ous, but it won’t nec­es­sar­ily al­low the PCs to cruise along on re­gres­sive poli­cies, es­pe­cially his plan to up­end the sex ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum. Ford is bound to face some re­sis­tance in his own cau­cus from more pro­gres­sive mem­bers like Caroline Mul­roney and Chris­tine El­liott. And he’ll cer­tainly get push­back from lo­cal school boards.

And for a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of Ford’s first year in of­fice, he’ll be faced with the dis­trac­tion of that em­bar­rass­ing law­suit from his sis­ter-in-law Re­nata Ford.

In four years, the NDP will be poised to win On­tario out­right. Here’s why.

Is­sues Ford and his party show no in­ter­est in will bite him in the ass. The move­ment to fight cli­mate change is not go­ing away. It’s only get­ting stronger and Ford’s stance on the need for car­bon pric­ing will work against him. Sim­i­larly, the #metoo move­ment is still surg­ing and Ford has never been on board with that.

Al­ready, the most pop­u­lar and ap­peal­ing On­tario party leader, Hor­wath has al­ways been an im­pres­sive per­former in the leg­is­la­ture, and as leader of the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion for the next four years, she and her party will be the ones ask­ing the ques­tions and get­ting the air time re­quired to at­tract vot­ers. As she said in her post-elec­tion speech, every sin­gle day the leg­is­la­ture sits, she will be pound­ing away at the gov­ern­ment.

The Lib­er­als, on the other hand, have been dec­i­mated. With Kath­leen Wynne step­ping down, they’re lead­er­less. They’ve lost party sta­tus, which means they don’t get fund­ing for re­search staff and of­fices, and lose the priv­i­lege of ask­ing ques­tions in the leg­is­la­ture. No money, no sta­tus, no leader – no chance.

The NDP came ex­tremely close – within 500 votes – of beat­ing the PCs in half a dozen rid­ings. In more than 30 rid­ings, the NDP and Lib­er­als com­bined to get more votes than the win­ning PC can­di­date. That’s a pow­er­ful ar­gu­ment for dis­pens­ing with first-past-the-post elec­toral sys­tems.

Next time around, the NDP will be the real de­fault op­tion. So un­plug your noses – the Or­ange wave is only build­ing. su­sanc@nowtoronto.com | @su­sang­cole

An­drea Hor­wath is al­ready the most pop­u­lar and ap­peal­ing On­tario party leader.

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