Ontario NDP and Horwath looking ahead

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Stockholm
Ontario NDP and Horwath looking ahead

Its about time we started a new thread on where things are at with the Ontario NDP, particularly with the November convention looming.

Latest bit of news is that Horwath has hired Jonah Schein to be a special advisor in her office. She also brought in Brian Topp as an interim special advisor and apparently a lot of heads have rolled in her office and at the party (heads that most people think DESERVED to roll).

No idea if she survives as leader or not, but the early signs are that she is taking the right steps to re-build things internally and re-connect with the disaffected elements in the party. We shall see

Geoff

Given that Topp is usually identified with the party establishment, it remains to be seen if he can help “re-connect with the disaffected elements in the party”.  Indeed, we’ll see.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Brian Topp did such a great job in BC it only stands to reason he would be in the centre of things again.  Are there no new players in the Ont. NDP or is it as moribund as the BC NDP.

Geoff

I was trying to be generous and not dwell on the Adrian Dix catastrophe.  So much for generosity.  Geez, tough audience we have here on Rabble.

Stockholm

One thing Topp got universal praise for in BC was bringing the caucus and party back together after the fratricidal conflict over dumping Carole James (in retrospect getting rid of her was idiotic). Yes I suppose you could say Brian Topp is an establishment figure in the NDP but so be it. During a and after the campaign some of the most withering attacks on Horwath were from people in the so called "establishment" so that is part of where she needs to patch things up

Brian Topp Brian Topp's picture

A very tough audience, indeed!

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

How about having a party leader with a clue.   Perhaps someone like ... Jonah Schein.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

How about a party leader with a vision for a better Ontario with a halt to the growing income and opportunity gap. I didn't hear a bleeping syllable about any of that from Andrea Horwath. HST on hydro is not the big deal, the freeloading corporate fat cats are the problem. And as Skinny Dipper pointed out (and I followed this issue closely after he did), she did not step up to the plate to defend collective bargaining rights when Bill 115 was forcibly imposed. Mum on the things that matter, loud on things that really don't. #fail.

I'm not donating any more time or money to the NDP until I actually have some reason to believe the party is moving in the right direction. More ersatz Liberals we don't need.  Unionist made a thoughtful post a few months back, suggesting what disaffected NDPers could do with their energy and passion for social justice etc. Among other things he said take your time and talent to community service organizations, environmental groups and so on. That's what I am doing.  

Geoff

Unless the party engages riding associations and members in a meaningful way, I don't care who they bring in to prevent the ship from sinking; it won't work.  Party apparatchiks have paid lip service to the grassroots for years, but have routinely ignored any input that threatens to change the party's policy direction or internal decision-making. 

Provincial Council is good entertainment, but it's no place for a serious discussion about the future of the party.  Convention isn't much better.  We're running out of time to address the democratic deficit in the NDP.  For some former supporters, it's already too late.   

terrytowel

In a new survey Forum said if another election was held today, four out of 10 would vote Liberal or 39 per cent, the Tories, 32 per cent or just slightly ahead of where the two parties finished in the June election. The NDP, on the other hand, has seen its vote share drop to 19 per cent from 24. Support for the Green Party grew to 8 per cent from 5 per cent.

The poll conducted on Aug. 20-21, has a margin of error plus or minus 3 per cent 19 times out of 20.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/08/24/christine_elliott_ahead_in...

Insider1

Having the provincial Liberals at 39% and the NDP at 19% can't be good news for Andrea Horwath with her key leadership review coming up at the NDP convention in under three months.

Any speculation on who else might be interested in the job of Ontario NDP leader? Any rumours of someone from the federal NDP caucus interested, for example?

nicky

Keep in mind this is Forum, the least accurate of all pollsters. They had the NDP at 17% just before the last election when the party got 24%.

By this measurement the NDP has gone up 2% since the election.

Marg Wood Marg Wood's picture

@ Geoff  I agree!  Andrea Horwath totally ignored the grassroots of the Party.  The NDP both Federal and Provincial no longer represent for me, my idea of what a Social Democratic Party should be.  IMO Jack Layton did.

Jacob Two-Two

Forum polls are worthless. They are always wrong. The best thing you can do with them is ignore them. Any other response will lead you into error.

terrytowel

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Forum polls are worthless. They are always wrong. The best thing you can do with them is ignore them. Any other response will lead you into error.

The recent poll from Maple Stratgies has been broken down by party voting intentions.

Rob Ford’s coalition is comprised of a base of Conservatives supplemented with a small contingent of NDP’ers who are likely drawn by his populist approach.

In fact those polled who idenitfy as NDP supporters, almost a quarter of them (24%) are supporting Ford!

Maybe Andrea was on to something when she started going after the Rob Ford/Toronto Sun/Tim Horton's voter with her populist message.

http://mapleleafstrategies.com/below-the-topline-additional-observations...

Geoff

Marg Wood wrote:

@ Geoff  I agree!  Andrea Horwath totally ignored the grassroots of the Party.  The NDP both Federal and Provincial no longer represent for me, my idea of what a Social Democratic Party should be.  IMO Jack Layton did.

I wouldn't hang it all on Andrea.  Ignoring the grassroots is a long-standing tradition in the NDP.  Conventions and PCs are carefully chroregraphed events, designed to provide sound bites to the media.  The debate in Montreal over dropping "socialism" from the preamble of the Constitution was a good example of that.

What's needed is an ongoing dialogue with the membership that prepares convention/PC delegates for a meaningful discussion of issues and resolutions.  If you don't do the leg work between conventions, nothing of consequence will happen at convention.  One issue that needs to be debated more seriously is what a social democratic party should be. Maybe that would be a good starting point.

Stockholm

Geoff wrote:

The debate in Montreal over dropping "socialism" from the preamble of the Constitution was a good example of that.

It was an overwhelming 80%+ vote in favour of removing "socialism" from the preamble - and the margin soared when all the people lined up to speak against the change were crackpots from the Socialist Caucus clutching copies of "Fightback" magazine. I think the party brass has learned that the best way to get a resolution to pass is to get a few abrasive fanatics from the SC to speak out in opposition.

In fact, if i were Andrea Horwath I would be secretely encouraging the remnants of the Socialist Caucus (all 6 or 7 of them) to publicly call for Horwath to be dumped. Once delegates see her being attacked from those quarters she will quickly get a 90% vote of confidence!

Geoff

Nice going, Stockholm.  Now you've given the game away.Wink

Debater

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Forum polls are worthless. They are always wrong. The best thing you can do with them is ignore them. Any other response will lead you into error.

Not true.  Sure, they've screwed up on certain occasions.  But they are right more often than not.  They correctly predicted that Wynne would win a Majority in June, they just underestimated NDP support a few points.  They also predicted that Adam Vaughan would win Trinity-Spadina.  And they were the first ones this Summer to pick up the Trudeau bump that is now showing up in EKOS, and even Ipsos Reid today.

Stockholm

I wouldn't go so far as to call Forum "worthless", but they seriously underestimated NDP support in the Ontario election (projecting 19% for a party that gets 24% is a BIG error) and they persist in doing seat projections that are ridiculous and mathematically impossible.

fiddling

(removing - duplicate posted)

fiddling

terrytowel wrote:

In a new survey Forum said if another election was held today... (snipped)  The NDP, on the other hand, has seen its vote share drop to 19 per cent from 24. Support for the Green Party grew to 8 per cent from 5 per cent.

A poll at a random time may not signify much.  Nonetheless, if what the above implies is true regarding NDP support shifting to the greens, it wouldn't be hard for me to see why for two reasons.

One is that there is still a sense within the greens that input is welcome - on the ONDP site, if you click on "get involved" you are asked for money; on the green site there is a distinction between the links for volunteering and donating.  The second is that actual "platform" policy is front and centre on the the links of the green site; it's nowhere to be found on the main NDP page, and instead you have Andrea's face taking up much of the page, and a "Meet Andrea" link, but no policy link.

I think the above says a lot to the grassroots about where they should turn, as well as making plain the NDP's emphasis on leader over ideology.  If the NDP has no real commitment to advocating social democracy as an alternative to the dominant ideology of austerity and neoliberalism, it's hard to see how they could inspire the next generation of kids to become interested in the political process, let alone why they need to exist.

The point should be about more than a self-sustaining system of high-wage electroral employment.  Maybe that's harsh, but they're not exactly talking about inequality anymore, are they?

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Thanks, fiddling, for saying what I've been thinking. I have been voting for Andrea since she first ran for Hamilton city council in the mid 90s, but I am dismayed by the place to which she has led the ONDP.

Rokossovsky

Geoff wrote:

Marg Wood wrote:

@ Geoff  I agree!  Andrea Horwath totally ignored the grassroots of the Party.  The NDP both Federal and Provincial no longer represent for me, my idea of what a Social Democratic Party should be.  IMO Jack Layton did.

I wouldn't hang it all on Andrea. 

Why not? That is so convenient for those who want to ignore long standing systemic problems and roll along in more or less the same manner with a new paint job.

Geoff wrote:

Ignoring the grassroots is a long-standing tradition in the NDP.  Conventions and PCs are carefully chroregraphed events, designed to provide sound bites to the media.  The debate in Montreal over dropping "socialism" from the preamble of the Constitution was a good example of that.

What's needed is an ongoing dialogue with the membership that prepares convention/PC delegates for a meaningful discussion of issues and resolutions.  If you don't do the leg work between conventions, nothing of consequence will happen at convention.  One issue that needs to be debated more seriously is what a social democratic party should be. Maybe that would be a good starting point.

Right.

Debater

Stockholm wrote:

I wouldn't go so far as to call Forum "worthless", but they seriously underestimated NDP support in the Ontario election (projecting 19% for a party that gets 24% is a BIG error) and they persist in doing seat projections that are ridiculous and mathematically impossible.

According to this, the NDP actually got 22.74% of the vote in the Ontario election, not 24%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_general_election,_2014

But yes, they underestimated NDP support by several points, no doubt.  But their overall projection for that election was very accurate.  They predicted (along with EKOS) a Liberal Majority.  Not many pollsters got that right.  And some like Ipsos-Reid, were even predicting a Hudak Win.

Most of their riding projections have actually been very accurate, except for Brandon-Souris and Fort McMurray-Athabasca.  It appears they are not as good at polling in more rural Western ridings.  But they correctly predicted Labrador, Bourassa, Toronto Centre, Scarborough-Agincourt, and the big win by Adam Vaughan in Trinity-Spadina.

In fact, in their final riding polls, they actually underestimated the size of the Liberal win in Trinity and the Liberal win in Agincourt.  So it depends.

Skinny Dipper

I did renew my NDP membership in Ontario.  I look forward in becoming chosen as a delegate or choosing delegates that will vote non-confidence in Andrea Horwath's leadership.

nicky

To answer Debater's transparent deception in #24
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_general_election,_2014
The Ont NDP got 23.75, not 22.74%

Sean in Ottawa

nicky wrote:

To answer Debater's transparent deception in #24
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_general_election,_2014
The Ont NDP got 23.75, not 22.74%

Let's not go that far. I doubt this was purposeful.

He read the wrong line on the link. The first number is the previous election. It is poor formatting from Wiki and easy enough to misread.

But Debater being careless like this affects your credibility.

Stockholm

Skinny Dipper wrote:

I did renew my NDP membership in Ontario.  I look forward in becoming chosen as a delegate or choosing delegates that will vote non-confidence in Andrea Horwath's leadership.

...and who do you think would be a better leader - or do you want to replace something with nothing?...there are a couple of names bandied about as possible future leaders - all of whom seemingly sing from the same book as Andrea Horwath but are less attractive, less experienced and less personable...

Rokossovsky

Andrea's talking points may not have been the most effective, but she stuck to the script, and delivered it well enough.

Let's not pretend this all comes down to one person.

ctrl190

What is the general safe-area for confidence votes? Horwath's last confidence vote was at the ONDP 2012 convention where she won 75% support, and this was after a better-than-expected showing in the 2011 election. I expect it to be lower this time around, but by how much I'm not sure. I reckon anything less than two-thirds her career is over. 

Debater

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

nicky wrote:

To answer Debater's transparent deception in #24
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_general_election,_2014
The Ont NDP got 23.75, not 22.74%

Let's not go that far. I doubt this was purposeful.

He read the wrong line on the link. The first number is the previous election. It is poor formatting from Wiki and easy enough to misread.

But Debater being careless like this affects your credibility.

As if I'm the only person here who has ever miscopied a figure.  Yes. it was an error.  And we're only talking about a difference of about 1 percentage point anyway.

However, I was correct that the NDP didn't actually hit 24% of the vote in June, it was 23.75%.  In any event, it was not a good result for Horwath.  She was expected to finish a lot higher than that.

Stockholm

Debater wrote:

In any event, it was not a good result for Horwath.  She was expected to finish a lot higher than that.

Who expected her to finish higher than that??? I thought the conventional wisdom in the mainstream media was that her forcing an election was suicidal and that she was going to lose vote share and loase all the seats gained in byelections. On election day, the pundits all expected the NDP to get under 20% and probably just 15 or seats. 

I agree she could have and should have done better - but no one i know expected any better a result than she got. In fact, usually the NDP does badly when the liberals do well - it was a surprise that the NDP gained vote share in the context of a good night for the Liberals.

Debater

Stockholm, prior to Horwath voting with Hudak to bring down Wynne, she was expected to have a shot at becoming Premier and making huge gains.  (Look at some of the threads here titled 'Andrea Horwath will be the next Premier of Ontario.)  There were polls that had her in 2nd place at one point, and nearly moving into 1st.

And the Liberals didn't do that 'well' in terms of vote share.  It went up marginally by only 1 point.  There were a lot of seat gains, yes.  But Wynne won a Majority with the smallest vote share since Bob Rae.

And I would counter your assertion with another point:  Horwath was competing against a scandal-plauged 3-term government and an inarticulate, cold and unpopular PC leader.  She had a golden opportunity to make major gains.  If she couldn't make major headway in an election like this, I don't see how she will do so again.  Christine Elliot strikes me as a much more articulate communicator than John Tory, and is likely to a more formidable contender if she becomes the next PC leader.  There may not be as much room on the political spectrum for Horwath next time around as she had this year.

terrytowel

Kathleen Wynne said "If you want to stop Tim Hudak, you cannot vote NDP"

After seeing what Wynne did, John Tory is taking page out of her playbook.

By saying "If you want to stop Rob Ford, you cannot vote for Olivia Chow"

Worked once, could work again!

 

Debater

Except that John Tory is not a Liberal like Kathleen Wynne.  He is not as progressive.

Stockholm

Horwath never actually voted down the budget. Wynne called an election on her own...the NDP had been in the 24-26 range in most polls ever since Wynne took over from McGuinty and they stayed there. In retrospect with a really good campaign, the NDP might have won 23 or 24 seats instead of 21 but the result was more or less what I expected from the start. If Hudak's campaign hadn't been so awful the Liberal vote would have been lower and the T Roy vote higher and while the NDP would have had the same seat count we might have had another minority government...for what it would have been worth

Debater

Well, I suppose there isn't much point debating it any longer.  If you feel that the 3rd place result by the Horwath NDP was a good one, then okay.

You offered some good constructive criticism of Horwath back in June here where you pointed out that her mistake was not announcing why she was voting against Wynne.  As you said, Horwath announced she would vote against the budget without explaining why or without explaining her position on it, so that made it look bad to progressive voters.

Anyway, that will be up to the NDP delgates to decide at the convention.  Martin Regg Cohn claims Horwath's support is shaky, but he may be wrong about that.

Stockholm

Interesting news that Horwath has hired Michael Balagus as her new Chief of Staff...he is very highly regarded having been C of S to Gary Doer and to Greg Selinger. This strikes me as a very positive move on her part. I'm not sure why she is only turning to someone of that calibre now after years of her office being an amateur hour - but better late than never!

http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/09/08/andrea_horwath_turns_t...

PS: If there is one person who I suspects knows less than nothing about interal politics in the NDP - it's Martin Regg Cohn. i doubt if he has ever actually talked to anyone in the party in years. His idea of an "NDP source" is probably some useful idiot with delusions of grandeur like Sid Ryan 

terrytowel

Balagus carries mixed reviews in NDP circles. Having toiled in the 1980s for Howard Pawley, Balagus had a nightmarish experience trying to help federal NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin.

In 1990 he managed the leader and the NDP caucus communications strategy for over 3 years. It was during those years its popularity when into a steady decline, from double-digit support to single digit support. He also got into screaming matches with some MPs including Lorne Nystrom, who didn't appreciate being told what to say to the media.

He continued to fall out of favour with the caucus and leader, but the final straw was yet to come. Before the 1993 election the NDP spent the last of its pre-election budget on an infomercial, showcasing Audrey McLaughlin in a town hall type setting. At a cost of $50,000 the overriding theme was free trade. Slamming the Conservatives for the number of jobs that had been lost to the U.S. because of the deal.

After filming was completed, Balagus took the video across the border to the US to have the tape edited and polished for its Canadian broadcast. Critics cried hypocricy and the infomercial was toast, $50,000 down the drain.

Someone had to take the fall and Balagus was ultimately fired. This was on the eve of the 1993 election. The party was hard-pressed to find a replacement on short notice, to run media for the NDP.

Some prize Andrea has hooked to run her office.

Stockholm

That was over 20 years ago...more recently he ran Gary Doer's office as the latter won three straight majority governments and he also was chief of staff to Greg Selinger who unexpectedly won by a big margin in 2011. I think that between getting a real professional as Chief of Staff and hiring Jonah Schein and having Cheri DiNovo onside...Horwath will end up sailing through the convention - and Regg Cohn will have to be carted away and placed in a padded cell.

terrytowel

With the hiring of Balagus, Andrea is still sending the message of trying to go after the Rob Ford/Tim Hortons/Toronto Sun voter. With the hiring of a chief of staff who believes in Western populism. The hiring of Balagus doesn't bode well for its traditional base, who wanted the NDP to return to its traditional roots.

But then again Rob Ford has the support of almost 25% of NDP voters in Toronto, so maybe Andrea has no choice but move into that direction.

Cheri DiNovo (who won her seat by the narrowest of margins) is not on-side. She is off-side.

Stockholm

Then why does DiNovo keep making public statements in praise of Andrea Horwath?

Clearly partisan Liberals like "terrytowel' are freaked out by the idea of Hrwath getting a top notch advisor like Michael Balagus onside - someone who has experinece winning elections and running a premier's office. I get it though, if you are a Liberal what you want most of all is for the NDP to be as small and marginalized as possible - like the good old days under Howard Hampton when the party kept flirting with losing official party status.

 

terrytowel

Stockholm wrote:

Then why does DiNovo keep making public statements in praise of Andrea Horwath?

You mean like DiNovo: ONDP Must Acknowledge Election "Debacle"

I guess Stockholm represents that NDP block of voters that support Rob Ford agenda and Andrea's platform to mimic this populist message,

Almost 25% of Toronto NDP voters support the Rob Ford agenda. So I guess Stockholm is in that category.

Majority of Ontario voters have rejected a Rob Ford platform, but if Stockholm wants to keep pushing it by all means do so.

Stockholm

More recently DiNovo has said that Andrea has rediscovered her social conscience and is praising her - its one things to criticize the last election, but now is the time to look forward and there is no real alternative to Andrea Horwath...the fact that the crackpots in the Socialist Caucus are the only ones publicly calling for her ouster only reinforces my view that a new and improved Andrea Horwath who has cleared out all the toxic people in her office - is the best of both worlds

Adrian Morrow ‏@AdrianMorrow  Sep 3

.@CheriDiNovo suggests Horwath has learned from the June election and is moving the party back to its social justice roots #onpoli

 

terrytowel

Stockholm wrote:

my view that a new and improved Andrea Horwath who has cleared out all the toxic people in her office - is the best of both worlds

Before the election there was no talk about Andrea having to change. Now you are saying she is 'new and improved'. If she was so great BEFORE the election, why would she need to be 'new and improved' after the election.

Stockholm wrote:

the fact that the crackpots in the Socialist Caucus are the only ones publicly calling for her ouster only reinforces my view that a new and improved Andrea Horwath who has cleared out all the toxic people in her office - is the best of both worlds

With 25% of NDP voters in Toronto supporting Rob Ford, if Andrea wants to go down this route and go after the Rob Ford electorate, while ignoring the grassroots (who Stockholm labels crackpots in the Socialist Caucus) that is her decision.

Stockholm

Cheri DiNovo asnd Jonah Schein support Andrea Horwath - are they the Rob Ford electorate or are they grassroots?

terrytowel

Stockholm wrote:

Cheri DiNovo asnd Jonah Schein support Andrea Horwath - are they the Rob Ford electorate or are they grassroots?

Since Andrea is going the Rob Ford route (ignoring what happened during the election) guess Cheri and Jonah are drinking the Rob Ford Kool-Aid. As they are part of that 25% of NDP voters that support the Rob Ford agenda.

If she wants to go after Rob Ford's electorate, by all means she should go ahead. It just ailenates the grassroots, socialist wing of the party.

 

Stockholm

Now today we have learned that a hard core partisan Liberal can't tell the difference between Rob Ford and social democracy. If there is anyone in Ontario politics who is the true ideological soulmate of Rob Ford - its "terrytowel" beloved friend Laurel Broten the viciously rightwing union-basher who tried to destroy the entire labour movement when she was acting as Dalton mcGuinty's designated union basher...now that piece of shit can try to spread her union bashing to Nova Scotia

Rob Ford attacks unions, trashes social programs, cuts transit and library services, wants to privatize everything in sight, is homophobic, hates women, makes racial slurs, beats people up and is a drug addict. Can you explain what any of that has to do with Andrea Horwath who campaigned on major expansions of child care, massive increases in funding for the TTC, increasing the minimum wage and opposing privatization of government services and has been a lifelong crusader for women's rights and gay rights and labour rights?

That being said, if there are working class people who have misguidedly voted for Ford in the past - I salute any politician who wants to appeal to those people and show them the better way. In 2010 Ford got 48% of the vote in Toronto, polls now shjow him in the mid 20s - I am GLAD that other candidates have succeeded in driving a wedge between Ford and many of the people who supported him in the past. If Andrea Horwath found a way to get people to vote NDP instead of voting for Tim Hudak - then the word owes her a debt of gratitude and i hope she keeps up the good work!!!

 

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
Interesting news that Horwath has hired Michael Balagus as her new Chief of Staff...he is very highly regarded having been C of S to Gary Doer and to Greg Selinger. This strikes me as a very positive move on her part. I'm not sure why she is only turning to someone of that calibre now after years of her office being an amateur hour - but better late than never!

Yikes. Andrea wants to show that the party is listening, yet she hires someone connected to a Premier who absolutely gutted the internal mechanisms of dissent within the Manitoba NDP and a current Premier whose popularity is [url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Greg-Selinger--274322041.html?cx_... the low 30s.[/url]

Stockholm

Gary Doer won three majority government. We should only be so lucky in Ontario.

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