The NDP - Big step reaching out to new voters

Andrea Horwath has abandoned NDP principles for self serving reasons, like getting elected.  I hear this, see it online and its the main stream media primary talking point.  Is it true? 

Some background...

The NDP in Ontario after Bob Rae was a basket case. They lost the support of major union leaders and all but the most dedicated lefties stuck with them. The Conservatives won in a landslide in 1995 and remained in govt till 2003 when an energized Liberal party took power, largely on the basis of theWalkerton scandal, teacher and union support.

The Liberals won and the Harris years ended. Early on, a better arrangement between the Government and unions took hold. When the Liberals would stray too far, the unions would call on the NDP members at Queen's Park to stand up to the government, particularly close to elections. It generally worked.

The NDP under Howard Hampton ran 'traditional' NDP campaigns. Always front and centre were the issues of the poor, people on welfare and tax increases on the rest of us ( I simplify). They never came close to winning, albeit they were congratulated by the Lefty Purity committee.

After losing again in dismal fashion in 2007, the NDP took another course. Andrea Horwath became leader. The NDP again ran on a platform largely conforming with the purity committee in 2011. They made some gains, in my view due to the new face of the NDP, it's new leader.

This election is different. The NDP knew going into this, the Liberals would be the biggest benefactors of big union support with the exception of a few unions, that has been the case. Unions are supporting the NDP where they have an MPP and in areas where they think the NDP is better placed to beat the Hudak candidate. And this time some of those union leaders are being very public about their lack of enthusiasm for the NDP.

Let's get back to the NDP's vote base. While union membership in Ontario is around 30+%, the NDP can only claim a small base of about 15 to 20% of voters. This despite their leader being the most popular and trusted politician in the province, year after year.  That vote base has to expand. If it doesn't they need to reconcile their role with the results.
To win an election in Ontario, a party needs to be in the high end of things, 37 to 40%. That's almost double the NDP traditional support base. 
Okay that's where we are in battle, the NDP platform next post...


Ontario Liberal Maid scandal

You may have heard about the Ontario Liberal Maid scandal. It seems three Liberal Cabinet Ministers and a lot of Officials in the Liberal govt received free maid service from a company that then over billed the government for other services to make up for the free service. 

Rick Bartolucci
Harinder Takhar

The Ontario NDP asked Premier Wynne to tell us who the three Cabinet Ministers were that received the free services. 

The Premier refused to answer.  Well, the NDP has found out who two of the three are. Allegedly receiving free service were Ministers  Harinder Takhar and Rick Bartolucci.  You can read all about here.

Sign this petition to put pressure on Wynne to release the names of the Liberal MPPs who had their homes cleaned for free, or call 1-844-LIB-MAID to find out more.
updated with petition site.

Fake protestors, Fake Twitter; what's next from Ontario Liberals

From faking NDP members at an Andrea Horwath campaign event to faking grassroots support via astroturfing on twitter, the Liberals are proving they haven't changed under Kathleen Wynne. The astroturfing was uncovered by the Ontario NDP. The campaign was designed to show grassroots support for new taxes, in all it cost us $999,99.00.
New documents show the Liberals directed high-priced consultants to create fake twitter accounts as part of an astro-turf campaign designed to suppress public criticism and manufacture the appearance of grassroots support for their plan to hit families with new tolls and fees. More here.
The Liberals started the week with fake protestors at an event organized by the Andrea Horwath's
campaign. They were caught out by the media, because, they still were wearing Liberal branded election buttons etc.

When pointed out by the media, the quasi official from the Liberal campaign that follows and records all that Horwath says and does, told the protestors to take buttons off. He did not say, "hey guys, go home, this is embarrassing, this is not working so well."


5 Cheques in all the fifth being a Govt of Canada cheque in the amount of $1,700.

Fontana, former Liberal MP and a big player within the Ontario Liberal Party is in the middle of his fraud trial in London. This little bit of information is interesting; 
The total owing for the wedding was $18,900, DiPietro testified – the amount minus the $1,700 deposit. He received $8,630 from the bride’s parents, $5,000 from Fontana, $3,570 from Fontana’s mother.
Records seized from the Marconi Club show five cheques were used to make payment on the wedding, Zuber said, the fifth being a Government of Canada cheque in the amount of $1,700.
You can find more on Fontana's fraud trial here and here and here and here

"In your 18 years as an MP, how many documents did you falsify?"

London Ontario Mayor, Joe Fontana, a prominent Ontario Liberal, is in court today, facing fraud charges for allegedly submitting an invoice, which was doctored, for payment to the House of Commons.  The Crown suggests Fontana billed the House of Commons for his Son's wedding. 

Last week as you see here, Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne is seen here shaking Mayor Fontana's hand during an election stop in London.
Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne accepting Fontana's support.

In today's prosecution the Crown asked this in the cross examination: 

"In your 18 years as an MP, how many documents did you falsify?"

Replied an indignant Fontana, "Pardon me?"

"You heard me," said Zuber.

"None," replied Fontana.

"Then why wouldn't you remember this?" the Crown asked.​

Photo from Warren Kinsella here.


Right wing populist? Andrea Horwath?

Andrea Horwath is running to the right of the Liberals? Well if you believe the Liberals, the Toronto Star and some of my bestest lefty friends, this happened. Say it isn't so...

It isn't so...

First there was the minimum wage spat. The labour movement and poverty activists had been running a campaign to raise the wage to $14 per hour. A lofty and worthwhile goal. Wynne couldn't decide how to raise the minimum wage so she appointed a panel (She does this a lot). The panel suggested raising the wage and then indexing it to inflation. 

Yet it seems some people were none too happy that Horwath didn't lead the fight to raise the wage. It was after all a classic NDP position. Horwath knows most Ontarians thought the $11 wage was all that could be afforded. She also knows that $11 is too low. So being the right wing populist she is, she said make it $12 and index it. And then Horwath added a small tax cut for small business. That's a buck an hour more than Wynne yet Horwath has forgotten her roots. 

Before all that happened, there was Bill 115. The 'Take All the Teachers Rights Away' bill introduced by the Liberals and supported by Tim Hudak. The bill was a desperate attempt to appeal to voters in a secretly planned by-election for Kitchener Waterloo, a long time conservative strong hold. The stakes were high, the Liberals would gain a seat, thus hold a razor thin majority. To win however they figured they had to out 'Hudak', Hudak, and they did!

Again, that right wing populist Andrea Horwath and the NDP stood up and surprised everyone by voting against Bill 115.

The NDP demanded that the Liberals tax high income earners and not cut corporate taxes two budgets ago. This was to help fund a job creation program for youth. That kind of populism is so not of the left. 

More coming...

Arthur Potts is the Liberals Progressive alternative to Michael Prue

This is the Liberals Progressive alternative to Michael Prue. It's kinda sad...

                                                                                             From: Youth And Work blog

"I was listening to a very interesting segment on Ontario Today about restoring sanity into our discourse. One the callers referenced how Arthur Potts, the provincial Liberal candidate in the riding of Beaches-East York, was selling himself as a progressive alternative to NDP MPP Michael Prue

The caller in question described how after further research he found that Mr. Potts advocates for Wisconsin-style GOP "right-to-work" policies in his professional life. The whole deception Mr. Potts was perpetrating intrigued me, so I looked into his past history.
 See more here: http://www.youthandwork.ca/2014/05/meet-arthur-potts.html

Ontario Election: Why now?

We're well into the Ontario Election. The minority Liberal government lasted two and a half years, a long time by any standard. The discourse among non Tim Hudak supporters has been to stop him. The oft named progressives are being sought after by both the Liberals and the NDP. That's where I begin...

 In the quest for the elusive progressive voter the Liberals are championing their budget. Some are even calling the budget more NDP than the NDP. That's the Liberal narrative to date and one that has been proffered by Toronto Star columnists and not a few union brothers and sisters. For some the thought is that the budget was progressive and defeating it would lead to a Tim Hudak win. In fact this is the Liberals entire campaign in a nutshell.

Andrea Horwath has been the Liberals biggest concern. Her questions during Question Period hurt the most. Her demands for accountability grind on Liberal nerves. Horwath's statements on making life more affordable hurt because they're true. In fact, Andrea Horwath has pretty much been the most popular politician in the province the last eighteen months.

In February the Liberals number one concern was the NDP according to leaked election planning documents. Liberal support was vulnerable if Horwath could translate personal popularity to the NDP. You may be surprised to know that the Liberals have these past 18 months avoided referring to Andrea Horwath by name, while attacking the Conservatives by their leaders name. That was a strategy, to prevent alienating voters who liked Horwath. It seems however with one Liberal attack ad naming Horwath and another leaflet being dropped by Liberals, they have abandoned that strategy. It's a risk, but hey, the Liberals are running scared now.

So far the fear of Hudak winning an election has been the reason behind demands that the NDP and Andrea Horwath support the Liberals budget. It's an NDP budget after all, at least that is what we are supposed to accept, the Liberals put in lots of 'NDP' stuff to garner support for the budget. Now we need to have a look at a few things. First Kathleen Wynne did not bring the NDP in to assist in drafting the budget. In fact she at many times said she wasn't going to suffer any direction from the leader of the third party. The budget is vague on details, there was no debate on those details because Wynne ended that, choosing to leave the details hidden and called the election before one word of debate. To be fair there was much to like about the budget, that is however not the budget the Liberals will have if they win.

The Liberals were sinking fast. They should have called an election soon after Wynne became Premier. They have suffered from a thousand cuts, lost a sitting Premier and were mired in a never ending gas-plant scandal, not to mention multiple others. They were so bereft of ideas, they started rewriting NDP private members bills and passing them, having in some cases only months before refused the NDP bills. The election had to be now as far as Liberals were concerned. As a minority, they couldn't control the agenda. More cuts would be had. Go now, hope to hell they can win at least another minority, then another election in a year for all the marbles.

Andrea Horwath tried to work with the Liberals. People in Ontario did not want an election after the last one so soon. Horwath did what she could to get improvements in the budget. Things like a tax on those earning over $500,000, childcare expansion, a youth jobs plan. Last year Horwath asked for a Financial Accountability Officer, Lower Auto Insurance rates and a 5 day guarantee for homecare for seniors. None of it happened. We're still waiting.

The Liberals had three promises to keep. They didn't keep any of them. And now people want Andrea Horwath to believe 70 promises?

 Next blog post: Andrea Horwath: What's going on?