NDP leader coast to victory in Hamilton Centre
By Richard Leitner, News Staff
NDP leader Andrea Horwath is promising that her party will continue to fight for jobs, healthcare, public services and “the affordability of everyday life” in Ontario, even if it’s lost the balance of power it had to push its agenda at Queen’s Park.
Speaking to reporters after the reigning Liberals swept their way to a majority government, the Hamilton Centre MPP said she had no regrets “whatsoever” about refusing to support the then-minority Liberals’ May budget, prompting the election that saw the NDP hold steady at 21 seats.
Horwath easily won her own riding, beating her closest challenger, Liberal Donna Tiqui-Shebib, by more than 10,000 votes, and said she was buoyed by the fact that one in four Ontario voters cast ballots for the NDP — up from 22.7 per cent in 2011.
She had repeatedly called the Liberals the “corrupt” choice during the campaign but sidestepped a question on whether the result meant scandals like the scrapped gas plants didn’t matter to voters.
“The people of the province made their choice based on a number of issues, and now that they’ve made that choice my job is to respect that choice and to continue to fight for them in the legislature on the important issues,” Horwath said.
“I do believe those issues continue to be jobs and affordability and making sure that our public services and our healthcare is there for them when they need it.”
Horwath, who got a boisterous welcome from NDP supporters when she appeared at the party’s election-night headquarters at the Grand Olympia in Stoney Creek, also said she didn’t see her position as leader jeopardized by the outcome.
“I did a good job as leader of my party, I believe, in taking our message to the people of Ontario,” she said.
“We did increase our popular support, we grew in other parts of Ontario, which is extremely important, but ultimately the work starts when the legislature resumes.”