What a start. Half of Kathleen Wynne's own backbenchers plus most of the NDP, including its female leader, skipped the swearing-in of Ontario's first female and Canada's only openly gay premier. That's some rebuff from the progressive sector she comes from and should appeal to. This will be challenging.
The next phase of the New Democratic leadership race limped out of the starting gate Sunday afternoon in Ottawa.
The nine hopefuls vying to replace Jack Layton spent most of the two hours "agreeing violently," as Nathan Cullen put it. From the dire situation in Attawapiskat to the manufacturing sector and green collar jobs -- the candidates agreed, agreed and agreed again.
One of the only sparks came early on in the debate, when Brian Topp went after Paul Dewar for not having detailed how he would pay for his economic plan. Dewar parried by pointing out that the question had been on climate change.
After a strong performance in the Ontario leaders' debate last week, provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath has kept up momentum by traveling around the province, letting voters know that her party represents change for Ontarians. She told rabble.ca in an interview on Sunday about what shape some of those changes will take.
Meg Borthwick: Ontario NDP support went up in the polls immediately following the debate. It must be very gratifying to know that you stand on your own, that this has not a whole lot to do with increasing support at the federal level.
Editor's note: This is the final installment of a four-part rabble.ca series featuring interviews with each of the ONDP leadership candidates. The new leader will be decided in convention this weekend, March 6-8.
Michael Prue's campaign will soar or plummet on the back of the Separate School funding issue. He has made the issue a central component of the campaign - but in a move which can be seen either as nuanced or equivocating, he refused to formally state that he personally supports amalgamating the public and separate systems and only says that the party should debate it at convention.
"I think it limits us ... the corporate sector understands as I understand, as a citizen, that democracy costs money and everybody has to participate ... If they're prepared to give me money why not take it?"
Peter Tabuns is widely seen as the favourite to win the Ontario NDP leadership. However, the race has tightened during the long campaign to choose Howard Hampton's successor and Tabuns, as frontrunner, has been the in the crosshairs of the other three candidates.
Tabuns' consistent focus, as the policy wonk of the leadership quartet, has been on party policy with the New Energy Economy as the centrepiece. Tabuns' vision, based on the American "Blue-Green alliance" of labour unions and environmentalists, is to create jobs and reverse the decline of the manufacturing sector through a massive program of investment in the renewable energy sector that would "reshape the economy and reshape our relationship with the environment."
Over the past few weeks, as part of the NDP Federal Leadership race, the Toronto Area Council has been working to organize a leadership debate that would be held in Toronto.
Today, we are happy to announce that a date has been chosen for a Toronto debate and that all eight leadership candidates have confirmed their participation. This will be an excellent opportunity for Toronto-area members to learn more about the candidates.
The theme of the debate will be "An Agenda for Canadian Cities". We will be offering an opportunity for each candidate to articulate their vision for urban centres.
The debate will be divided into three main sections: Infrastructure renewel, equality and social issues and sustainable economy.
I don't know if this is a bad omen but when I try to go to the NDP Convention website at http://convention.ondp.ca/ I get a message that says "Fatal Error"
Anyway, the last all candidates debate is on tonight (canadidate speeches are tomorrow afternoon immediately preceding the first ballot). Is the debate actually being broadcast on CP24 or CPAC or anywhere else? Will it be online?