2014 Villain: Andrea Horwath and the Provincial NDP Leadership Team
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2014 Villain: Andrea Horwath and the Provincial NDP Leadership Team

Nominated for: political opportunism and forgetting what the party stands for.

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 5 p.m. on December 30. At noon on December 31, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

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Lest we forget in the wake of all the Ford-related election drama of the past year—we had another election, a provincial election, and it was by any standard completely unnecessary. Because she wanted to avoid an election, Kathleen Wynne brought forward a budget that catered significantly to left-leaning priorities: there was a supplementary pension plan for Ontario seniors that sought to address the federal government’s refusal to increase Canada Pension Plan payments, for example, and much-needed infrastructure funding. It wasn’t something that had to trigger an election.

But Andrea Horwath and the provincial NDP decided that it should and then spent an entire election running so far to the right that the Liberals became the de facto party of the left in Ontario—a situation so bizarre that numerous longtime provincial NDP members openly criticized it. Andrea Horwath ran on a Ford-like platform of “common sense,” making promises of new spending combined with tax cuts that were, by any standard involving basic mathematics, essentially impossible. She promised to find “efficiencies” in the provincial government without mentioning any specifics about what she would cut. This was the type of governance many left-leaning voters were disgusted with, and Horwath promised lots of it and more besides.

It bears repeating that Horwath made these promises in the context of a budget that many members of her party supported. She made them, quite clearly, because she and the provincial NDP leadership believed that Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals were weak and that the time was ripe for the NDP to exploit that weakness—never mind the very real threat that as a result of such a power play, Tim Hudak and the Tories stood a very real chance of coming into power and instituting austerity policies that would be anathema to everything the NDP is supposed to stand for. Andrea Horwath sold out her party and her claimed principles for a very small chance at political power. The fact that she failed utterly in this regard does not change the fact that she should be condemned for it.