Sunday, March 8, 2009
Andrea Horwath will revitalize the Ontario NDP...
It's been a great week in Ontario politics. Normally a snooze, we not only witnessed the dramatic and heartbreaking demise of a decent but inept PC leader in John Tory, but also the meteoric rise of Hamilton's Andrea Horwath (pictured) as leader of the NDP yesterday.
The latter is great news as the feisty, energetic, telegenic Horwath will hopefully do something that Howard Hampton was never able to do: actually connect with a new generation of progressives who make up a slight majority of the province. I'll be honest, I'll be highly tempted to vote NDP now in 2011 with Horwath at the helm. I love strong female politicians and she's definitely one.
I don't believe the sexist spin that Horwath is somehow unready for her new role; what new leader ever is. But she's got great potential. She's got spunk. She'll appeal to voters throughout southern Ontario, the rustbelt and Golden Horseshoe, from Windsor to Hamilton to Oshawa right through to downtown Toronto. She should make getting up to Northern Ontario on a regular basis a big priority as there is huge growth potential for the NDP up there. (I'm sure the Liberal back room types who fouled up the 2004 Hamilton East byelection - and they know who they are - by picking the wrong Liberal candidate and ensuring that Horwath would run and win big as the Dipper are really kicking themselves today. Now it's only going to get worse for the Grits. Remind me, why are you paid so well when you make so many mistakes?)
Am I a fairweather Liberal? Only if the leadership is truly uninspiring and Dalton McGuinty certainly fits that bill. McGuinty disgustingly sold out on my big issue - voting reform - and set up the 2007 referendum to lose. It was heartbreaking and I'm not prepared to forgive him for it. So much so that I wouldn't mind seeing him knocked out in the next election. I got a feeling that with Horwath shoring up the NDP vote across the province, plus the Tories undoubtedly getting their act together, will mean a very tight squeeze on Liberal fortunes, probably to a well-deserved minority. That would be interesting.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. All in good time.
March 19 2009 - I've modified my thoughts on Andrea and Dalton somewhat.