Thursday, July 10, 2014

Andrea Comes Down From Her Perch

But only a little bit. And only because her campaign is being criticized from within.

As I noted in a recent post, Ontario NDP leader Andrea's Horwath's hubris following what almost everyone else would call a failed Ontario election campaign has been both unseemly and wholly unjustified. She initially avowed that she had no regrets about causing the election, terming it a success despite the fact her party lost key Toronto ridings and, more importantly, the balance of power. However, now that she is being publicly taken to task by both Peter Julian and Cheri DiNovo, Horwath seems to be tempering her pridefulness:

After weeks of downplaying the defeat at the hands of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals on June 12, which saw the New Democrats lose the balance of power in a minority legislature, Horwath on Tuesday conceded “the result of this election campaign was bittersweet.”

“We lost some seats in Toronto, which is very concerning to us. All three of those MPPs were good and it’s troubling that all three lost their seats,” she told reporters at Queen’s Park.

Her admission of error came after DiNovo granted an interview to The Torontoist, in which she described the results for the party as "a debacle from the beginning, from day one”.

DiNovo blamed those results on a wholesale drift from traditional NDP progressive values: poverty, child care, housing, and education.

Pointedly, she observed that "at the end of the day it’s about who we are as a party and what we stand for that we need to look at as New Democrats.”

Showing more understanding of what true leadership entails than Horwath does, DiNovo says the NDP will not regain frustrated supporters by portraying the recent election as progress, which has been the official line—focusing on the fact that the party improved its share of the popular vote by one per cent, and that efforts to attract voters outside of Toronto yielded gains. “It’s important for our voters in Toronto to know that we did not see that campaign as a success” because “I think voters appreciate honesty.”

It appears that, belatedly, Andrea Horwath may be realizing the wisdom of her colleague's insights, but not with any real grace. In today's Star, Martin Regg Cohn says that when the caucus finally met on Tuesday, DiNovo, a United Church minister, was told to take another vow of silence.

Nonetheless, as a response to those criticisms,

... a more contrite Horwath confirmed this week that she is changing her staff — and changed her tone. Where last month she was “proud of the achievements,” this week she scaled back the bravado by acknowledging the “bittersweet” reality in Toronto.

The political reality for all caucus members is sinking in. The spring election they triggered has deprived them of the balance of power, leaving the party destabilized and demoralized.

With the Liberals enjoying a majority for the next four years, the NDP leader has lost her leverage in the legislature. Over the next four months, she must regain her legitimacy within the party.

It is clear that Ms. Horwath has her work cut out for her.


  1. I believe she is in trouble during upcoming leadership review, Lorne.

    1. At the very least, LD, I think there will be a very frank airing of grievances.