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?
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...