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Duly Quoted: Elizabeth May, on Andrea Horwath’s Partisanship and Respecting Kathleen Wynne

Leader of the Green Party of Canada has harsh words for the leader of the provincial NDP, but really just wants everyone to get out and vote.

“I respect Kathleen Wynne. I do not like all Liberal policies; nor do I support any provincial party other than the Greens. ‎But there is a level of partisanship that exceeds sense, and Ms. Horwath now exemplifies it.”

-Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, in an open letter to the voters of Ontario. She writes of having grown “increasingly concerned watching Andrea Horwath essentially promote the election of a Conservative administration under Tim Hudak.” (A number of prominent, longtime NDP supporters have also expressed concerns recently about Horwath’s leadership, sending her a letter that read, in part, “From what we can see you are running to the right of the Liberals in an attempt to win Conservative votes.”) May calls for “a surge in citizen action” to combat the dispiritedness and disgust of many progressive voters—but not one that would necessarily aid any particular political party. “Don’t think of it as an action to support any politician,” she writes. “Think of it as supporting your own family, neighbourhood and community.”


In This Provincial Election: (sigh) The Liberals

Provincial Election 2014: What the outcome of this election will mean for Toronto.


  • Squintz

    While I don’t disagree, it’s interesting that she chides the other parties for their partisanship, while simultaneously making a partisan declaration in favour of the greens.

    • 2Jenn

      Not really. Every member of every political party has some partisanship. We have picked a favourite. But these days, and in all parties (including, I suspect, the Greens although I’m not one so don’t really know) some partisanship goes to lengths that trump common sense and love of country. Perhaps it was ever thus, but it is sickening. I suspect that is the partisanship Ms. May is talking about.

      • Squintz

        Not to be too uncouth, but the way you and Ms. May describe the situation brings the phrase “don’t hate the player hate the game” to mind. If that is a base component of the system, the parties and their leaders can hardly be blamed for resorting to partisanship.

        • 2Jenn

          Hahah! Absolutely right, which is why I’m a strong advocate for changing the system :)


            Any party that is wanting to change the system is almost going to be by default not in a position to do anything about it. Those who are in said position of power won’t want to do anything about it since after all they won using the status quo. Witness the debacle that was the Lib Dem attempt to get a PR system in the UK going, an effort that was completely sabotaged by their coalition partners, the Conservatives. When I lived in Scotland, I found the hybrid model there extremely civilized. But there was no referendum on the voting method used for the Scottish Parliament, it was simply part of the deal when voters were asked to choose whether or not they wanted a Scottish Parliament, and whether such a body should have some tax-raising powers.

  • a_w_young

    A careful read of policies and proposals and public record indicates that the premise that May has laid out here is utterly false. I don’t know why she arrived at that conclusion, and I respect her as a voice in the house, but this is inaccurate and tone deaf.

    • OgtheDim

      So that whole not bothering to show up to the lockup of the budget thing was Horwath showing off her speed reading abilities?

      As for it being tone deaf, not sure where you get that from, unless all you are not hearing the complaints about Horwath.


    The wanting to choose sides is an inherent part of the human condition. The need to belong is a powerful one, and a system that encourages it will always run into obstacles in reforming it. Reformers who underestimate it will always be surprised and disappointed at the ferocity of the status quo.

    Despite May’s protestations to the contrary, it’s clear where her sympathies lie: since the Tories are off the table, the NDP has (in her eyes) succumbed to base populism, the provincial Greens are probably not going to win anywhere, then she can only support the Liberals. Relations between her and the federal Liberals have always been cordial: they were nice enough not to run a Liberal against her when she ran in Nova Scotia in 2008, and her party and the Liberals found much to agree on, at least in the days of Dion. So it’s not exactly a surprise that she would wink-and-nudge people toward supporting a provincial party that is closer to its federal cousin than other provincial parties.

    For all her talk of excessive partisanship, no-one asked her to write this letter. I suspect a less altruistic motive than doing what she believes in played at least a partial role here. In that sense, she is engaging in the same behaviour that she suggests Horwath indulged in.

    • Brian Young

      It’s very hard in our adversarial electoral system not to appear partisan when in fact you are endeavouring to encourage change in that system. Wynne started off (as did Horvath, as I remember) to speak rationally and collaboratively about the issues facing us as a province. Neither Hudak (duuh?) nor Horvath stepped up to the plate, but continued their set roles as antagonists to anything she said or proposed.
      Elizabeth May has shown herself time and time again to be a humane and rational voice both in the House of Commons, on the hustings and in many other settings of public discourse.
      It’s not easy to avoid the perception of participating in the hostile political culture that this country is steeped in (she calls elections a form of constrained warfare – which it is). She, as well as people like Stéphane Dion and Joyce Murray, has spoked clearly and forcefully for serious change in the direction of proportional representation. The fear that Conservatives like Hudak elicit – based on the sorry experience of his predecessors – is yet another symptom of the dysfunctional nature of first-past-the-post elections.
      Tarring her with self-indulgence à la Horvath is simply vacuous name-calling.

  • dsmithhfx

    So are the Greens the new-NewDP, and the OldNDP Tim Hudak’s li’l puppy dog?


      Doubtful. The words used by the GPO are not exactly a million miles away from what Horwath’s critics are accusing her of.

      From the GPO 2014 platform:

      “In the next session of the legislature, your Green MPPs will demand that government:

      1. Focus on your job by lowering payroll taxes for small businesses”

      “None of our commitments will increase the deficit.”

      - in the platform, there is a glowing testimonial from a small business owner to how great the GPO is

      - The idea of a GAI has been kicked around in conservative circles for some time in order to achieve the same/better results as the status quo, but without the added bureaucracy and ‘big government’ of all the specialized programs

      - the merging of the Catholic and public school boards is a sound one, and something I feel the ONDP has been remiss on, but the GPO approaches it from the sole point of view of saving money. This is important, but there is not a whiff in there about the many other failings of the Catholic school system, including making many non-straight students feel like the scum of the earth. A party that styled itself as progressive would at least make mention of it, however obliquely.

  • tenchux

    So we ‘duly quote’ the so-called non-partisan Greens who are openly Liberal and Conservative and leftist, pandering between all while claiming to be none of the above? Right…first the NDP lost its way and now it is parochial.

    • OgtheDim

      They duly quote everybody…….

      ur not from around here, are you?

      • tenchux

        Convenient that it is May they quote and it is about Horwath. Convenient this quote comes after endorsing Wynne.

        • OgtheDim

          The phrase “duly quote” is what they use when they quote anybody.


          All sorts of people.

          Its worth bringing up.

          Hey, if you can find a decent newsworthy quote from the ONDP indicating they are not going down in flames, and are a great bunch of people, I’m sure Torontoist would be quite happy to talk about it somewhere.

          But all I’m seeing in social media and out on blogs is what we were getting from Tory supporters days before McGuinty somehow managed to almost get a majority in 2011 – anger, resentment, lashing out, and name calling.
          Jack’s letter is a lot to live up to and is conveniently used as a hammer to beat the NDP with. But….there is truth in what he wrote.

          • tenchux

            You’re right. I’m not from around here. ‘Here’ is a tough place to be where every news outlet incessantly pushes the same venal rhetoric. No longer is the Star a decent place to ‘be’, so here I am. And it is the damn same.

            Apparently you know for sure that the ONDP is going down in flames. Is this based Forum research polls? And social media is your outlet? You do know who runs social media campaigns right? Here’s one example of a joke of following social media and its bias:

            Being on the ground might give some perspective. Here’s something that gives a different take of the ONDP only going down in flames:

            How about we bid equity.

            I return to my initial issue. Duly implies something in accordance with what is required. Now this would be fine and good if there was a level playing field. Anyone can see that it certainly is not. If you can direct me to a place that provides a fair, unbridled presentation of neutral facts alone, without endorsement, as it should be, please do.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Duly Quoted is the name of the column, so move on if that bothers you.

          • tenchux

            Thanks for that, duly noted.

          • OgtheDim

            I’m basing my opinion about what is happening in social media on….what I’m seeing in social media.

            And it isn’t pretty for the ONDP. There’s a lot of anger out there.

            The ONDP came into this election hoping to be second to the Tories and to begin the destruction of the Libs. Not happening.

            Which is why the anger shown by ONDP types right now is so hot. This was supposed to be their year. And they are, by all accounts, treading water at best, and at worst, going downhill fast. And, worst of all, they are getting skewered by the same old “don’t let the evil Tories win” idea.

            The vision of the people behind Horwath is going down in flames. (that’s what I meant about the ONDP going down).

            The good thing for the ONDP is that the Libs are unlikely to be as presentable 2-4 years from now. The ONDP also can hope for another very right of centre person running the PCPO, assuming Hudak doesn’t win tomorrow. Horwath, though, well she and her people have some explaining to do.

            As Radwanski said in the Globe this afternoon, how can the party that decided to go for an election this time around have been caught so flat footed by an election call?

            Nah, hopefully for the province, which needs a healthy left of centre alternative to balance the Libertarians, the ONDP turfs Horwath and elects somebody that can provide some hopey changey type stuff. Run hopey changey against Wynne and a rabid right wing Libertarian Tory, and the ONDP might actually win.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            “hopey, changey”

            I like that. ;=)

          • rich1299

            “hopey changey” type stuff used to be the ONDP’s whole point of existing, they were supposed to be better than other parties by sticking to certain values and a belief that a better society was possible. They weren’t focused on winning elections but effecting change through their influence and creating the sort of debate that could lead to such things. I had expected the ONDP to shine in a Lib minority situation but they didn’t. They’re no longer the party, even federally, that sought to take the high road to make positive change through influence and debate, they’ve become just another party trying to win gov’t. Yes you do have to win gov’t to force the changes you want to see but the only change the ONDP seems to want these days is to have their party govern or increase their seat count.

          • tenchux

            Hopey changey can be found in the Communist Party platform or this election, which is great…but good luck with it. Horwath brought the party out of unofficial status. What is the point of a left party when it never has Cabinet seats and lavks a contagion of thr left? That is, how progressive social policy, at least in Western Europe, have been sucessfully implemented. This goes beyond idealistic premises of lacking its socialist point of view. The NDP was formed for a reason, because as great as the CCF was and amazing as a threat at the time, backed by a fairly militant labour mvement, dramatically declined its presence in the 1950s. His is also alongaide a decentralized union front. The same story persists with the same two parties always able to govern and truly determine social outcomes. Now I Would agree one hundred percent that what is needed is democratic reform on multiple counts, but this generation of voters are less likely to choose dramatic change when it comes to the economy, particularly with the strength of the anti tax base and the financial support footed by the corporate sector.

  • HotDang

    Horwath didn’t support the budget only because she thought she could move into the opposition, not because she had the best interest of Ontario in mind. It was a blindly ambitious move and it should cost her her job. The fact that she did this while betraying the ideals of the party, and that she was happy giving the reins to the worst conservative government Ontario has ever seen, is inexcusable.

  • rich1299

    What’s really annoying me at this point is that I have to do a sleep study the night of the election and will miss the results coming in. I had to do it this week and the 12th was the only day available, argghhhh!