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Cheri DiNovo: Ontario NDP Must Acknowledge Election “Debacle”

Parkdale-High Park MPP says her party abandoned its socially progressive values during the recent provincial election.

20140706 Cheri DiNovo 103 Photo by Corbin Smith

Parkdale High-Park MPP Cheri DiNovo, in an interview about the 2014 provincial election.

The Ontario New Democratic Party needs to reclaim the socially progressive values it abandoned in the recent provincial campaign, according to one of its own MPPs. In an interview on Sunday, about a month after election day, Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo blamed the NDP’s poor results in Toronto—including the loss of three MPPs—on her party’s lack of focus on poverty, child care, housing, and education. “It was a debacle from the beginning, from day one,” DiNovo told us at a cafe within the riding. “When I would hear at the door, ‘We love you, but…’ I knew we were in trouble.”

The NDP offset its three losses in Toronto with victories in Oshawa, Windsor, and Sudbury, maintaining its 21-seat count in the provincial legislature but losing the balance of power it held during the previous minority government. During the campaign the party faced harsh criticism from union allies and from within its own ranks, including a letter signed by 34 prominent social activists with longstanding NDP ties, challenging party leader Andrea Horwath to explain why she was asking NDP supporters to vote against their own principles.

Concerns about the Ontario NDP’s direction have not abated in the month since the election.

DiNovo, a decades-long activist for queer rights who was first elected in 2006, held her seat by just 525 votes, against Liberal challenger Nancy Leblanc. (In 2011 DiNovo won by 3,488 votes.) “I pretty much ran against my party in terms of platform,” said DiNovo. “Many of our supporters—who voted Liberal—saw more progress in the Liberal budget than they saw in our platform. That was a core mistake.” She attributes her victory to running a municipal-style campaign that highlighted her constituency work, rather than that platform.

DiNovo’s decision to speak out about the state of her party coincides with considerable internal ONDP strife. Several key party organizers have already met to discuss some next steps, including removing current members of the party’s executive. And as the Globe and Mail reported, party leader Andrea Horwath’s chief of staff Gissel Yanez, and advisor Elliott Anderson, will be leaving their positions. ONDP president Neethan Shan, who ran unsuccessfully for the party in Scarborough-Rouge River, registered to run for Toronto city council in Ward 42 (Scarborough-Rouge River) the following week.

There does not appear to be any concerted effort to replace Horwath herself, however. With a federal election coming in 2015 (which will pull resources and talent from the provincial party), and no clear consensus candidate that the progressive wing of the party could rally around, there’s no sense that a leadership challenge is in the offing. Horwath faces a leadership review in November, at the party’s convention; according to the ONDP constitution, she needs a majority of delegate votes to continue as party leader. Critics notwithstanding, she is widely expected to clear that hurdle without difficulty.

DiNovo says that while Horwath has been widely criticized for the party’s campaign and platform, the NDP faces broader leadership challenges: “Whatever happened is not the leader’s issue alone…. This a problem of leadership generally, and there’s a whole strategic team involved in that.” In reference to the departure of Yanez and Anderson, DiNovo said, “You can change the strategists, you can change the chief of staff … those are probably good things to do. But 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.”

cheri dinovo 3

One of the most prominent of the protest letter’s signatories was activist Judy Rebick, who told us that the ONDP’s campaign was a sharp departure from the party’s socially progressive roots. “The NDP has always believed that government has a constructive role to play in society,” she said. “It was as if they gave up on that in this election. A number of the people who signed the letter tried to talk to Andrea before the letter went out—she wouldn’t talk to anybody.”

DiNovo said that while the party did consult the grassroots membership before the campaign, the party’s platform ultimately did not reflect those consultations. Nigel Bariffe, who campaigned unsuccessfully for the NDP in Etobicoke North, disagrees, and said riding associations and candidates were shut out of the process. “The type of platform that came forward wasn’t one that went through a democratic process,” Bariffe told us in a phone interview. “As a candidate, I didn’t have any say.” Bariffe was also adamant that changes within the ONDP leadership are necessary. He expressed disappointment with the treatment he received from some senior party staffers, particularly Yanez. “They’re gonna have to fall on their swords,” he said.

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,” DiNovo says. “I think voters appreciate honesty.”

“I understand that we were trying to appeal to Conservative voters outside of Toronto, but we can’t ever give up our core values and principles,” DiNovo continued. “To do it is to become another Liberal party, which is the last thing I want.” She promised to keep fighting for what she sees as critical progressive issues in her riding, including housing, the electrification of the Pearson Airport rail link, and Toronto’s ongoing struggles with the Ontario Municipal Board.

“We’ve lost the ability to talk about investment across party lines,” said DiNovo. “But that we’ve lost the ability to speak about it in the New Democratic Party … that’s not us, and that shouldn’t be us.”


  • Peter Paper

    Hear hear

  • OgtheDim

    “…we can’t ever give up our core values and principles,” DiNovo continued.
    “To do it is to become another Liberal party, which is the last thing I want..”

    I would think the last thing the ONDP would want is to become the PCPO. I guess the apostate is always worse then the heathen.

    The assumption that Libs have no values or principles seems to be the biggest issue Con and NDP types have with the Libs. Can’t stand the existence of somebody without purity it seems.

    Sure, go for your core values and principles. But, those things evolve.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind a party taking a bit of this and a bit of that and creating something. Its what Davis did for the PCPO, what Wynne seems to be doing (although her budget stuff is WAY out of whack), and what the Greens are doing. Heck, its how Layton survived city politics.

    But, for both the PCPO and the ONDP, they seem to want us to think in binary terms. They keep thinking this way and the Libs are going to have a few decades in power.

    • scottld

      Your points are well reasoned and I agree BUT I still think that there has to be core values and for folks in Toronto they wondered where they went with the NDP. In fairness, as a lefty who remembers Bill Davis, I have wondered for years where the “progressive” went from Conservative. In a time when we all seem so fractured I remember when we all disagreed but were at the end of the day Ontarians, Canadians. We looked out for those at the bottom. Ontari-ari-ario!

      • OgtheDim

        As a right of centre person, the party I should be supporting of the big 3 left me after Larry Grossman left back in 1987. The rank and file votes are now controlled by libertarians and the grumpy rural. These people pine for the days of Mike Harris – much as Republicans pine after Ronald Reagan and conservatives federally will probably pine after Harper. They blame Toronto and the Unions. The PCPO has not gotten past the Harris years yet. They have a basic inability to understand that the world and Ontario’s role within it has changed.

        Most progressives I know get this change has occurred and are trying to figure out how to adjust. Wynne is part of that. I’m not sure Horwath really is there yet.

    • tenchux

      “Personally, I wouldn’t mind a party taking a bit of this and a bit of that and creating something.”

      That there was what the attempt actually was. And I have mixed feelings about it, but rather than pull a Rebick and advocate for a party I would never support, I pick my battles differently, and certainly would not as a public figure openly call for strategic voting, knowing that some of the ridings that were lost had no chance of the Cons winning. This election was all about taking from this and that party, or this and that policy issue, and that might not be the problem, but just the things that are normally spoken of, weren’t – like social housing. Class politics still exists and on that level things haven’t evolved; the system is premised on capitalism, and two parties are able to somehow win people over, on new public management rhetoric, fear tactics, and anti-tax angles.

      The bind is profound. How can ‘progressive’ politics come into play when government isn’t formed, and equally, why should government be sought when it requires focusing on valence issues and playing the brokerage game? The space in Ontario isn’t like Manitoba, where the Liberals are all but non-existent. I had a conversation with a candidate in Toronto, and the person said to me, we were in unofficial status for some time, and more than that, we have a history of two party rule in Ontario. Do we think we can be heard as thirteen screaming activists in the legislature?

      So long as majority governments are constructed falsely, there is going to be no chance for a so-called progressive NDP to actually have its policies heard, not least by a Con or LIb government, when the NDP is in third place, and that much is clear from posterity.

      • OgtheDim

        Part of my issue with the ONDP and their approach to this and that is they didn’t seem all that interested in actually doing “this or that” but instead were only interested in suggesting they would do something, just don’t say what exactly and by the way “THE LIBERALS ARE CORRUPT”

        Their financial proposals were, and I know I’m repeating myself on here, but there is no other way to describe them – Rob Fordian. Neither doable nor actually doing something to fight the deficit.

        And for months before the election, the ONDP refused to develop policies in a calculated attempt to not offend anybody. Now, that might have worked if the Libs and the Tories didn’t come up with some big policy ideas. But, when the other people in the race have ideas, you gotta come back with more then “We are not them.”

    • Rebecca Fine

      Yes, NDPers need to stop portraying Liberals as not having principles or values. This makes the NDP sound sanctimonious, and drives away many Liberals who may share some of the same progressive principles. The NDP should not portray itself as morally superior, particularly during a campaign in which it was obvious that it was moving away from the left and towards the center itself.

      • James Matthews

        The best way to criticize an unprincipled rival party is by demonstrating your own principles.

      • James Williams

        The NDP is quite clearly morally superior. The reason? Because it has not racked up the sordid history of corruption, embezzlement and incompetence that is the hallmark of the Ontario liberal party.

        I would trust an incoming NDP government in terms of ethics.

        • OgtheDim

          You see that is the sort of partisan shtick that seems really good when you talk among like partisans… but that is totally ignored by most Canadians because of its sweeping generalisation and general lack of humility.

          People don’t believe one party is less or more corrupt then others.

        • dsmithhfx

          What incoming NDP government?

        • andrew97

          How soon we forget. “[Rae's] administration has fallen victim to a seemingly unending series of political scandals.”

    • James Matthews

      At the end of the day, the Libs rely on being less bad than the Tories and the NDP not being considered a serious alternative (much like the Democrats in the US). That saved Wynne this year, but people shouldn’t settle for that.

    • Fayclis

      There is assumption about it, most of this current brood of Libs have NO real values and aside from provincial elections. they care LESS about democracy. They are spin doctors and will say anything, do anything and spend and waste unlimited amounts of dollars to stay in power and to hell with the next generation of Ontarians and fiscal responsibility. The middle class will all but disappear and the poor will become poorer due to increased taxes and slowly but surely individual rights and freedoms will continue to deteriorate. Watch this nanny province turn into a police state under their dictatorship.

      • OgtheDim

        They be evil, I says.


      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        “Watch this nanny province turn into a police state under their dictatorship.”

        Dear Gawd, you don’t really believe this do you?

        • Fayclis

          Yes I do. One reason? Remember the old law from the WWII the Liberals brought back for the G20? It was the worst infringement on individual rights and freedoms. We had a police state then did we not? Liberals refused an inquiry into it even though a poll showed over 70% of the public wanted an inquiry (that is the 70% who are NOT asleep at the wheel). They took a lot of heat on it and said they were “sorry” for passing it behind closed doors BUT four years later THAT law is STILL on the books. Libs have put “reverse onus” in a few of their new laws and there are many new ways police can access peoples private homes with no warrants. Want to fight for YOUR charter rights in Ontario? Got a spare 700,000 plus to get to the Supreme Court where only about 20% of the cases are actually heard? Oh and it can take YEARS to get a request based on the access to freedom of information act. Shame SO many are asleep at the wheel. It is shameful and scary.

          • OgtheDim

            If you believe we live in a dictatorship, you really don’t know the meaning of the word.

          • Fayclis

            I know we live in a dictatorship after a party is elected be it a majority or minority. Example bills being passed in the legislature. All 3 parties voted to remove the HST on home heating as pressures by constituents to do so where put on MPP’s-meanwhile a few of the Liberal executives wanted the taxes. The bill passed 2nd reading handsomely. That bill passed committee meetings (as has a FEW other bills with NO problems) but the bills never made it. So WHY in this case was the HST not be taken OFF home heating? Bet YOU don’t know do you? Admit it YOU don’t know. You are naïve so I will tell you why.. ONLY the government house leader can call a bill up for 3rd and final reading no matter how much support a bill has, and the calling up of the bill by the government house leader is at the PLEASURE of the Premier. YOU don’t think THAT is dictatorship? It happens quite a bit but MOST are unaware of how the system really works.

          • dsmithhfx

            But you’re complaining about the structure of the provincial parliament. Where has the ONDP proposed structural changes to the provincial parliament? The NDP lost it’s nerve so long ago nobody can even remember it ever had one.

          • Fayclis

            So you agree the structure of provincial government lends itself to a dictatorship then? Politicians get into power and then do what they can so to erode democracy and the people allow it. Can’t disagree with you on your recent comment though. Andrea should have acted earlier to bring down the Liberals and sadly waited for the WRONG time to do it and then was not properly prepared. The advice she got stunk.

          • dsmithhfx

            “So you agree the structure of provincial government lends itself to a dictatorship then?”

            No I don’t. You either don’t understand the definition of “dictatorship”, or you are deliberately misusing it for rhetorical effect. Either way, it undermines your credibility.

          • Fayclis

            When ONE person decides the ultimate fate of legislative bills that are voted on by elected representatives of the people it IS a dictatorship. Unless you believe THAT ultimate process is democratic.

          • dsmithhfx

            Yadda yadda.

          • Fayclis

            You don’t have a clue. No matter what the legislature does the laws they make (like the G20 law that removed Canadian Charter Rights of Ontarians) they don’t make mistakes? Here is a recent quote from a Ontario Court of Appeals case. “The legislature does not make mistakes, and MUST be enforced, no matter how harsh, absurd or contrary to common sense”. Harsh, absurd or contrary to common sense and the courts enforce this legislature?

          • dsmithhfx

            We don’t exactly live in a dictatorship, but that could turn on a dime. We live in a kind of cut-down, faux democracy, a corporatist oligarchy. Cf. The Manufacture of Consent.

          • dsmithhfx

            What happened at the G20 is a disgrace, and the provincial government of the day certainly bears a measure of responsibility.

            It’s difficult to know what a provincial government of another stripe would (or indeed, could) have done differently. It’s highly probable they were given bad advice in the form of wildly exaggerated (or even fabricated), dire warnings by the CSIS.

            I’m just curious, though: was the G20 specifically, and police powers in general even mentioned in the ONDP party platform for the past election?

            We are indeed at risk of sleep-walking into a police state certainly at the federal level, though we are belatedly discovering that provincial and municipal police forces apparently have unfettered access to all sorts of material gathered from ordinary Canadians’ private electronic communications, without recourse to judicial oversight.

            This lamentable and worrisome fact does not attach exclusively to this or that political party however, it seems to have become a de facto law of the land (or globe) imposed stealthily by ‘greater’ powers — security services run amok on an international scale beyond anybody’s wildest imaginings, prior to the revelations of Edward Snowden.

            How and even if they can now be brought to heel remains to be seen. I’m not terribly optimistic.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            It also ought to be noted that the law as written and the law as enforced by Blair and his minions during the G20 were not the same thing.

          • Lavender

            Fayclis, you’re talking to a wall. Don’t you realize that there are liberals who fancy themselves socialists and will therefore never admit that the Liberals are conservatives with better speech writers? There are actually people on here who have openly and proudly admitted to voting for a party that has crippled this province through neoliberal and austerity policies for a multitude of years – but insist that they’re leftists.

            Maybe they’re just trying to defend their vote?

            Now economist Don Drummond is telling us that it looks to him like the Liberal government, which by the way fully supports work-to-rule when it comes down to it, may in fact be planning to cut… guess how many jobs? 100,000. I’m sorry, but any “progressive” who chooses the Liberals over the NDP aren’t socialists. They wear the idea like a handbag – nothing more.

          • Fayclis

            Agreed. Who would believe Liberals to speak truth during an election? They will say one thing and then do another. Liberals lie. Personally I can’t believe how totally gullible the Ontario electoral is. Oh and so much for being held to account for the gas plant fiasco and the deleted emails.

          • OgtheDim

            Do try to keep the “I hate the Libs” bile down a bit. Ur assumption of who people are based on their opinions of the ONDP makes a mockery of the ONDP’s claims to being the moral high ground.

    • Bizarro Mayor Rob Ford

      If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything, including me, ha, ha, ha, hah!

  • sol_chrom

    The ONDP’s current brain trust, or what passes for it, and its Salacious Crumbs at NOW magazine can spin this any way they want, but I’m with Cheri DiNovo on this. Horwath gambled, stupidly, and lost.

    No, there was never much reason to trust the Liberals, but before this disaster, the NDP had the leverage to extract genuine progressive initiatives from them in return for its parliamentary support. Now? The Liberals can spend the next five years channeling Mike Harris, screwing around on public transit, and doing sweet fuck-all to maintain or enhance the public good, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

    They won’t just be drinking the austerity kool-aid — they’ll be holding our heads under and waterboarding us with it.

    • Cut loose

      Hear hear sol_chrom, you are absolutely right! perish the thought.

    • James Williams

      Austerity? What austerity are you talking about? The liberals are going to run a 13 billion dollar deficit to give you all the goodies that you socialists crave.

      • OgtheDim


        Calling people socialists doesn’t help the Tories win.

      • HotDang

        Mmmm… socialist goodies.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          mmmmmmm….candy coated socialist licorice!

  • scottld

    I have a lot of respect for Cheri even when we dont get along. A lot of downtown NDPers were expressing concern a year ago about Andreas populist and thin platform but we were brushed off as closet liberals. Instead of finding out where we were coming from we were dismissed. When the NDP had the balance of power clean trains were ignored and the omb was ignored for fear it would alienate the gold rush of expected new seats outside of Toronto. Good NDP members lost their seats and Cheri had a near death experience because Toronto was taken for granted. I have to admit that after hearing Cheri’s protestations to my face before the campaign about my confusion as to where the NDP was headed, this coffee shop mea culpa is pure ass saving. Cheri, your balls were missing over the past year and look what it got us. Please step up and show us the old Cheri, the fire in the belly and the passion to wear a collar like true fighters of poverty have done since say around the year 0000. A leadership campaign Cheri? Is the fire still there?

  • Dimetre Alexiou

    I don’t think DiNovo can honestly say that she would have upheld that budget after news came out about the deleted hard drives. The problem that the NDP has had ever since Kathleen Wynne won the Liberal leadership is that, since Hudak won’t even negotiate, the Liberals simply give NDP everything they want in budgets, basically daring them to vote against it. It was a tricky call for Andrea Horwath. If you support the budget, you’re also propping up the government that deleted the hard drives. If you defeat the government, you’re killing a progressive budget. If leading a political party were easy, everyone would be doing it.

    • dsmithhfx

      There’s no evidence Wynne had anything to do with the hard drive wiping, and the OPP came out and said she is not under suspicion.

      So no, supporting the progressive liberal budget — Wynne’s budget — did not equate to “propping up the government that deleted the hard drives”.

      That was an exercise in crass cynicism that blew up in the ONDP’s face.

      • OgtheDim

        Some ONDP types (note sure if Dimetre is) were so invested in finding a reason for the election to be called, they started to believe their own spin.

      • hfmcm

        “Progressive” Liberal budget? That remains to be seen, doesn’t it.

      • Lavender

        Let’s be honest, though – she wasn’t exactly innocent in the whole scandal, was she? As I recall:

        “New Democrat MPP Gilles Bisson grilled Wynne, who was a cabinet minister when the Oakville plant was axed, over her signature that appeared on a cabinet document authorizing the government to negotiate a settlement with plant builder TransCanada Energy.

        “You wrestled them to the ceiling,” he said.

        Wynne said she signed the document because the government had advice that sending the cancelled contract to litigation could end up costing taxpayers even more money.”

        “Nobody knows what the costs of litigation would be,” she testified, acknowledging she could not predict how negotiations would work out. “This was obviously fraught with unknowns.”

        Opposition parties said it was wrong for Wynne to sign such a document with no idea of the consequences for taxpayers.

        “I don’t think a responsible politician would have signed off on a blank cheque,” said MacLeod.

        • OgtheDim

          Fact is, Ontarians don’t see her as tied to it.

          Frankly, they don’t see any of the parties as being above doing such stupidity.

          There was a lot of “Ok, which of these is the best of a bad lot?” thinking going on.

          The gas plants were not a factor.

          • dsmithhfx

            Particularly since the other parties both campaigned vigorously against the gas plants, and vowed to scrap them if elected. Hypocrites.

          • Lavender

            “Ontarians don’t see her as tied to it.”

            Oh, but they do, and they know the Liberals certainly are. As a matter of fact, Hudak threw that very signature in her face during the debate and I’m pretty sure people were grateful for that – whether they supported him or not. Gas plants were a factor. As was ORGNE, as was eHealth, as was… you get the gist. People made their anger well known. But what weighted more heavily on their minds was the prospect of Hudak running their province. End of story.

          • Kris Konrad

            You’re giving Horwath way more credit than she deserves.

            You also seem to think that every person who voted Liberal really wanted to vote NDP. I did vote strategically, but against the NDP and their ridiculous platform. I usually vote orange, but happily voted for Wynne.

          • dsmithhfx

            What a bitter bunch of sore losers you make the ONDP out to be! Surely it’s time look ahead, admit mistakes made and put on a more appealing face. You see, that was Wynne’s secret weapon. You can do it too. Gwan, give it a try.

          • OgtheDim

            “Oh but they do…”

            U need to get out from the partisan bubble. (That and hardly anybody watched the debate so nothing that happened there really irked people)

            No party was liked.

            And blaming the ONDP drop in some areas on strategic voting is massively missing the point. The ONDP wasn’t trusted by enough people to make up for the loss of people not interested in their solutions.

          • Lavender

            More people came out to vote, and the people who did, voted Liberal out of fear of Hudak. That’s what the numbers show. I voted for the NDP because choosing the Liberals over the NDP when you’re claiming that the NDP isn’t progressive enough is pure bullshit. If that makes me “partisan”… okay then.

          • nevilleross

            Would you all believe….that I voted for the Toronto Central NDP candidate? I figured she needed some love, and so, she got it from me!

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      The government that deleted emails ended when McGuinty stepped down.

    • Lavender

      That Liberal budget was a Trojan horse. We got burned trusting in the last one and this one was even more fantastical. The Liberals figured the NDP would have no choice but to swallow it. It was a very sneaky thing to do on their part because it was clear that Horwath was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t. I think there are decent arguments on either side of the debate as to whether the NDP should have shaken hands with the Liberals, but anyone who believes it was a progressive budget either in theory or practice is hallucinating. Notwithstanding the budget vote, though, I think the bigger issue is the campaign Horwath ran. It sucked huge. I can’t see a fundamental change happening with the same captain steering the ship. They need to change things up big time.

      • Guest

        Burned trusting the last one?

        It’s the NDP’s own fault for playing political games holding things up in committee.

    • James Matthews

      Speaking as an armchair general, I would have passed the budget then brought down the government in the fall…

  • Julius Arscott

    Sign the petition! Spread the word!! In the recent Ontario Provincial election there was no mandate for
    Andrea Horwath and her ‘brain trust’ of hired advisors, handlers and
    organizers to turn the party to the right, to wage a right-populist
    campaign that so alienated labour unionists, social justice advocates
    and progressives. The Ontario NDP electoral campaign was the worst
    since Bob Rae tried to defend his odious Social Contract in 1995.

  • aylwinlo

    “about a month after election day”

    I’m guessing you meant a *week*?

  • Matthew L

    I think the best thing to happen for the NDP will be the next few Liberal budgets. Facing a stark financial and economic picture, the Liberals will turn right – as they always do when in power – and will lose much of the soft-left wing voters who supported them in droves to keep Hudak out of office.

  • Piero

    This is not why the NDP have lost their non-core voters. People have higher priorities than supporting poverty and low-income housing. People will take care of themselves before those in dire need. Not out of selfishness but one must feel comfortable their family is taken care of before being able to care for others. The liberals had already offered the electorate a childcare program. The NDP’s policy that pits small business against labour is irreconcilable. The NDP will never again be a majority party in Ontario with a philosophy and platform that assumes only those below the poverty line are in need.

    The real issue is that Horvath was seen as someone triggering an election out of selfish reasons. She was seen as a copy cat of the party she was putting down. It was execution not the content, because the content that was very much copied did win the election. People just didn’t buy the NDP message. It wasn’t genuine ,wasn’t original and done for the wrong reasons.

    • hfmcm

      How do you all reconcile the fact that the only time the NDP won power in Ontario was when they were led by a closet Liberal? Just think about that.

      • Lavender

        This is an intriguing question… No doubt the traditional NDP crowd was abandoned. But let’s pretend for a moment that people weren’t terrified of Hudak (because that played a huge part in the electoral turnout and outcomes); the NDP has only seen a huge surge in support when it appealed to the centre. Under the leadership of Jack Layton the federal NDP won a tremendous amount of seats. Why? Well, all I know is that Layton actually brought the party closer to the centre, not the left. What does that tell us?

        At the end of the day, the left has be conscious of the fact that our ideas and values just don’t appeal to the huge majority of Ontarians/Canadians. Maybe in theory, some people admire the NDP for saying and doing many things the other parties don’t have the guts to. But the more socialist we sound, the worse our chances are. That’s my suspicion. Maybe collectively, we’re not as progressive as we’d like to believe?

        • hfmcm

          Well said…To my knowledge, Canadians have never been described as progressives, but rather as moderate conservatives. As for ideas and values — well, there’s not a great deal of difference between the values of most Canadians, I suspect. The problem is how to build a country on them. In that respect, we’re not doing at all well. The left has done a lousy job of appealing to Canadians on the basis of shared values.

        • James Williams

          If by ‘values’ you mean ending poverty, ensuring good jobs and meaningful opportunities to contribute (etc), I think there is widespread support. The NDP has (usually) been a good barometer of public sentiment on foreign policy, although they haven’t had control of that particular prerogative power.

          I think it is the methods that no one is buying. If a top-down command and control economy was the key to wealth, the Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea would have been economic powerhouses. Try selling someone born in Eastern Europe or Mao’s China about the advantages of socialist economics. They simply won’t listen to you.

          • dsmithhfx

            Because rampant capitalism has worked out so well?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            For a very vocal, very small minority who happen to own the bulk of mainstream media, yes, it has.

  • Notcleverguy

    She isn’t wrong.

  • Peter Paper

    Agree 100% I’ve been a donor in the past but refuse to give any more money until the ONDP shows me they understand internal democracy matters.

  • Cut loose

    Thank you Cheri. Many of the long time supporters I spoke with felt they were being forced to abandon their values and were asked to vote on loyalty. We never had to choose before. We were loyal to the party because our core values were always presented and protected. Not this past election.

    • James Williams

      Agreed. She didn’t promise to rob honest hardworking people of their wealth in order to give you enough goodies that you never paid for. Total abandonment of your principles.

      • OgtheDim

        Yes, because, you know, firing public servants is only firing dishonest lazy people.

        Ur rhetoric makes you and your fellow partisans feel better but does nothing to build this country.

        Nor does it win you votes.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        That was Tim’s platform, wasn’t it? Rob 100,000 people of their livelihood to underwrite tax cuts to people who don’t need it.

      • vampchick21

        do we have a new troll?

        • dsmithhfx

          More like an old one.

      • Cut loose

        Being a hard working single mother that has never taken a dime in subsidies or any assistance, what goodies that we never paid for are you referring too. I also paid for my own education, as many of us principled people have done.

  • Cut loose

    I have to agree, as someone who took an active and not so attractive role during the Scarborough-Guildwood nomination meeting, the NDP should not cast stones when they live in a glass house.

  • PovertyStinks

    I’m very concern about what the liberals and wynne are bound to do to ODSP recipients

    • James Williams

      Oh, probably horrible things. We know that they have had meetings where they were talking about massive cuts to the public service. (Although not to their pet corrupt agencies like eHealth Ontario and ORNGE). That union leader was warning you about that before the election.

      However, you voted them in, so you can reap the rewards. My bet is that they will continue to rack up deficits, since they have no plan or ability to curtail spending. However, they’ll clumsily axe token programs here or there.

      Is it easier to go after healthcare (and anger physicians, who have enormous wealth and political influence), or is it easier to go after poor people?

      • OgtheDim

        Do some research. Ornge has already been cut. And ehealth.
        And the unions they started on before the election are the managerial ones.

        I agree their deficit fighting is woefully inadequate.

        But at least its not trickle down economics like both Hudak and Horwath promised.

        That doesn’t work.

  • James Williams

    One of Horwath’s great sins was to court the wrath of the birkenstocks latte-socialist brigade by espousing concern for … gasp … small business owners. You know, the people who run your local shoe store, construction outfit or accounting firm. They’ve never forgiven her for the misguided belief that deficits and debts matter, and that perhaps the private sector has a role to play. Instead, we get ‘big government’ and further enslavement of Ontario to the big banks.

    • OgtheDim

      Partisan talk radio opinion with not a stitch of evidence to support that.

      • Lavender

        Actually, I think James has a valid point amid the hyperbole. I did hear a lot of self-described traditional NDP supporters say that Horwath was handing out tax cuts to corporations. Which isn’t being entirely honest. I believe there were some concerns that some franchises of large corporations would be included in Horwath’s definition of a “small business”. Well, they’re not the same as mom and pop type enterprises but they do employ a lot of people. For some reason some people (who should have known better) were failing to mention that the tax cuts were offered as incentives for job creation, with a plan to review whether those jobs were maintained over a period of time so it wasn’t a blind payout. And while the proposed minimum wage increases aren’t sufficient, what does a party leader do if they want to be realistic in their relationship with the private sector? See, this is the stereotype that lefties have – that we’re anti-business, anti-private sector, etc. The truth is that small businesses in particular can’t be expected to hire more people if the minimum wage is going to jump substantially, unless there’s some other measure in place to help them accomplish that. To suggest that what Horwath was doing was conservative in nature isn’t fair in my view. Even talking about fiscal responsibility and cutting government waste had some people nearly foaming at the mouth. Again, unfair in my view. Can we at least be balanced?

  • James Williams

    Indeed. Why they decided to screw over their traditional base by parachuting a corrupt adulterer into the race is beyond me.

  • OgtheDim

    I still don’t get why they were not ready for an election they knew was going to happen once they said they would vote against it.

    It boggles the mind. Almost like they thought they didn’t need to do anything.

    • dsmithhfx

      I think they actually believed Horwath was going to carry it off and they didn’t need a platform. I also think that for their long-term strategy to work, they needed a Hudak win. That’s how much they think of their union friends.

  • Peter M.

    A long time ONDP supporter, I did not vote for them in the recent election, for the exact reasons Ms DiNovo lays out. Glad the message is being received; hope I have a reason to vote for them again.

    • Lavender

      I’m sorry, but I hope you didn’t vote Liberal thinking they’re more progressive…………..

      • OgtheDim

        Given we were not provided with much of an ONDP platform, beyond the whacked out deficit stuff, and the pro pollution HST ditch, how can we judge?

        This was also the party who had a major operative (OPSEU president) talk about ditching 60 000 management jobs (not his union) to create 100 000 non-management jobs (his union).

        Now, we’ll see how many the Libs cut, because that is coming….

        • Lavender

          My comment wasn’t directed at you. FYI.

      • Peter M.

        No, I voted Green because I like some of their positions a lot, and I hope they become a force electorally.

        • Lavender

          I’m relieved to hear that! I spoke to a few people who were critical of the NDP and asked them what they thought of the Greens’ platform. It doesn’t seem that they were willing to consider the Greens because they said they’re progressive in some ways and conservative in others. Personally, I agree with every single thing that Mike Schreiner said.

  • Matt Patterson

    No talk of the environment? Under a Liberal government for the past decade, Ontario has actually cut its greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms. The Liberal Party was also the only party in the last election that had a transit plan. The NDP, on the other hand, ran a pro-car, pro-energy consumption campaign. They were mum on public transit. They proposed using public money to subsidize hydro bills (i.e. subsidize pollution).

    I’m a usual NDP voter, but I happily voted Liberal this time around.

    • Lavender

      Absolutely unbelievable that you think the Liberal party, both in terms of policy and culture is still actually more left-wing than the NDP. The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, etc. did a fantastic spin job, apparently.

      • Matt Patterson

        I didn’t say anything about which party was more “left-wing”.

        • Lavender

          In that case, I’m curious to know why you think the Liberals have a better understanding of environmental policy than the Greens??? I’m an environmentalist and I find this odd.

          • Matt Patterson

            I also didn’t say that.

  • Geoff Read

    As an NDP supporter I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. DiNovo’s analysis. The campaign was shoddily organized and the messaging and platform abandoned the party’s values to a significant degree. Combine those two things with the party’s puzzling logic for defeating the budget in 2014 when it allowed the 2013 budget to pass and it spelled trouble at the polls. Like Ms. DiNovo I am not interested in the NDP becoming a copy of the Liberal Party.

  • nofordsclub

    I was one of those who voted Liberal. I wanted to send a message to the NDP (which I have almost always supported) that their platform made no sense and was in fact regressive if anything. That being said, I’m very glad to hear that DiNovo got the message. Nothing against her, and I’m glad she’s my MPP. Hopefully the party will listen to her.

  • retired and happy

    There are many valid points being made here..among them the poison pill nature of that budget. The fact that the Liberals had their bus running and ready to go suggests that Wynne would have called the election with or without NDP support and the party could have been left with even more egg on its face than it was for pulling the plug. However, something I haven’t seen discussed anywhere is the changing demographics of downtown Toronto ridings. The condo dwellers in Trinity Spadina are not natural NDP supporters as were the working class and immigrant families that have traditionally lived there. The same holds for Parkdale High Park. Owners of milion dollar homes in Roncesvalles Village are far more likely to vote Liberal and really don’t have any affinity for the progressive values held by the working class that used to live there. I wonder what the impact of all this gentrification is on the traditional NDP vote. I once lived in Etobicoke Lakeshore..a stronghold if ever there was one. When condos started to be built down there, that was the end. Ruth Grier was the last NDP MPP to be elected there..nearly 20 years ago.

    • hfmcm

      Many thanks for bringing the important issue of demographics into this discussion, too much of which seems to me to indicate a lack of understanding of what drives voter preference across the political spectrum. The changing face of Toronto ridings seems to have a great deal to do with the outcome of the provincial elections in your city. In my own riding, the NDP would have been in trouble if it had to rely solely on its traditional base (union members), because manufacturing jobs here have all but disappeared, and other unionized public sector jobs (in health care, for instance) have been cut significantly due to hospital closures. Yes, we have teachers, but their natural preference is to vote Liberal, just as the police tend to be Conservative. In this riding, the lack of transparency and accountability of the Liberal government, and, in particular, the cuts to hospital services, have decimated Liberal support, while the NDP has gained the trust of some constituents who normally vote for other parties.

      • retired and happy

        We’re not in Toronto any more hfmcm, we’re in Sudbury now – one of the ridings that got picked up in the election so we don’t entirely agree with the Toronto-centric criticism of the party. They flubbed a lot for sure but I think that demographics had a very large role to play. To me, the size of the loss for Rosario Marchese is way larger than could be explained by anger at the NDP alone. I also believe that this province is becoming ungovernable through the first past the post system that we have. Looking at the map after the election showed bands of orange, red and blue with the red vote concentrated in large urban centres, orange in the north and rust belt (for want of a better term) and blue in the rural east. It’s going to be a challenge for the NDP to square the circle of this reality with the desires of downtown Toronto “progressives”. Up here in the north, the pocketbook parts of the platform were very important to working class voters, as they were in Windsor, Oshawa etc. There’s a lot of work ahead and maybe the party can concentrate on defining itself now that they don’t have to be in constant election mode. Let’s hope so anyway.

    • Lavender

      Bang on. I live in Roncesvalles and I almost choked when I saw what a short margin DiNovo won by. My neighbourhood has been gentrifying for a few years now, and I was quite shocked to see that the margin was larger last time around – but not all that much. Look at Kensington Market. The culture is changing even in the most traditionally progressive pockets.

  • Kris Konrad

    Oh god no. She is a fine MPP but she is also rather loopy. And I’ve seen her be mean to volunteers at party events. Like, weirdly mean.

  • Don J Aitken

    Never forget NDP & LABOUR Leadership should always be the first among equals not top down dictates. We are not the PC’s and the Liberals.