Editors’ note: The following is the text of a letter to NDP leader Andrea Horwath, signed by more than thirty long-time NDP supporters, leaked on Friday to news media.
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the ONDP
By e mail, May 23, 2014
We are writing to you as long-time supporters of the ONDP who are deeply distressed by the current election campaign. Not only have we voted ONDP in every election until now but we have consistently supported the ONDP in several of the following ways: giving money, canvassing, scrutineering, pulling out the vote, leafleting, running as a candidate, participating in our ridings, or participating in provincial council, serving on the provincial/federal executive, being on staff. In this election, we are seriously considering not voting NDP.
We were angry when you voted against the most progressive budget in recent Ontario history. Given your mistrust of the Liberals, it still would have been better to insist they carry out their promises rather than just bringing them down. But in your campaign, it seems that you don’t agree with the proposals in the budget. From what we can see you are running to the right of the Liberals in an attempt to win Conservative votes. It is not clear whether you have given up on progressive voters or you are taking them for granted.
With Tim Hudak in a position to win the election, we are facing the most right wing and vicious leader of the PC’s since Mike Harris. Our priority should be to discredit his program and defeat him, not validate his program. Instead, you seem to be giving credence to his policies by adopting a more moderate right-wing program focusing on balanced budgets, austerity or at least public service cuts and “common sense.”
You have not explained to ONDP voters why this will be a successful election strategy and why they should vote against their principles. It seems in your rush to the centre you are abandoning those values and constituencies that the party has always championed. If the NDP does not stand with working people, poor people, with women, with immigrants, then what does it stand for? We urge you to change course.
Most of us are suffering from an economic and political system that is increasing inequality, reducing public services, destroying the environment, whittling away our democracy and making the rich much, much richer; while the majority of working people are left with precarious livelihoods. The NDP has always stood for more democracy and social justice. There are lots of new ideas on how to achieve more equality in these conservative times. We wish we could hear you on these ideas.
Please reconsider or you will lose not only our support but also the support of thousands of others who will turn to other parties or not vote at all. As for those of us who sign this letter, our only loyalty deeper than that which we feel for our party is our loyalty to the principles on which that party was built.
We look forward to a timely response.
Patricia Chorney Rubin
Ian de Souza