New Democratic Party of Ontario: Wikis

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Ontario New Democratic Party
Leader Andrea Horwath
President Sandra Clifford
Founded 1932/1961
Headquarters 101 Richmond Street East
Toronto, Ontario
M5C 1N9
Ideology Democratic Socialism
Social Democracy
International affiliation Socialist International
Official colours Orange & Green
Seats in the House of Commons 10
Website
http://www.ontariondp.com/
Politics of Canada
Political parties
Elections

The Ontario New Democratic Party, formally known as New Democratic Party of Ontario, is a social democratic political party in Ontario, Canada. It is a section of the federal New Democratic Party.

Contents

Origins

The NDP's predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a democratic socialist political party, was founded in 1932. The Ontario CCF in turn was the successor to the 1919-1923 United Farmers of Ontario-Labour coalition that formed the government in Ontario under Ernest C. Drury.[1]

While United Farmer Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) joined the Ontario Liberal Party, the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO), as an organization, participated in the formation of the Ontario CCF, and was briefly affiliated with the party. It decided to withdraw in 1934, alleging Communist influence in the new party. Many active members of the UFO remained supporters, including Agnes Macphail, who served as the first president of the Ontario CCF[1] until 1935 when, as a UFO Member of Parliament (MP), she was forced to officially resign from the CCF after the UFO withdrew from the party. She subsequently served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as the CCF Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP)1 for York East from 1943 to 1945 and again from 1948 to 1951.[1]

Other prominent members were Graham Spry who was the Ontario CCF's chairman from 1934 to 1936 as well as a candidate[1] and Elmore Philpott, a former Liberal Philpott joined the CCF in 1933 and became president of the Ontario Association of CCF Clubs before resigning from the party and rejoining the Liberals in 1935.

The CCF contested its first Ontario provincial election in 1934. It received 7% of the vote, and won its first seat in the Ontario legislature: Samuel Lawrence elected in Hamilton East.[1] The Ontario CCF failed to win any seats in the 1937 election.

1 In 1938, Members of the Ontario Legislative Assembly (MLAs) passed a motion to adopt the title "Members of Provincial Parliament" (MPP).

Breakthrough and decline

Ted Jolliffe, CCF Leader 1942-1953

The party achieved a major breakthrough under its first leader, Ted Jolliffe, in the 1943 election, forming the Official Opposition with 32% of the vote and 34 seats. The CCF was just four seats short of George Drew's Progressive Conservatives ("Tories"), who formed a minority government.

The 1945 election is known infamously as the "Gestapo Campaign", due to Jolliffe's May 24, 1945 radio speech that compared Drew's use of the Ontario Provincial Police's Special Investigations Branch to spy on opposition MPPs to the dreaded Nazi secret state police.[2] The information acquired by agent D-208 was used by the anti-CCF forces to place libelous advertisements in the province's newspapers and billboards. Jolliffe publicly alleged that Drew was ordering this spying. The public outcry was so great that Drew had to form the LeBel Royal Commission, to look into these allegations.[3] Although Jolliffe's CCF and the Ontario Liberals called on Drew to suspend the election until the commission made its report, Drew continued on with the election. The CCF dropped 9 percentage points, but their seat total was even more dramatically reduced compared to their level of popular support. The election reduced them by 26 seats, taking the CCF from 34 to 8 seats in the Legislature. Drew got a massive majority and Jolliffe lost his York South seat.

In the 1948 election, the CCF were able to elect 21 members, including Jolliffe, to once again form the Official Opposition.[1] However, the CCF's return to popularity was short-lived, due to the prosperity of the 1950s and the Cold War's anti-Communist hysteria. This rapid decline in their popularity reduced the party to two seats in the 1951 election and allowed the Ontario Liberal Party to become the Official Opposition. No social democratic party would be the Official Opposition again until 1975, when Stephen Lewis's NDP displaced the Liberals as the second party in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

End of the CCF/New Party and revival

Donald C. MacDonald,CCF/NDP Leader from 1953–1970. Seen here in February 2007

Donald C. MacDonald became leader in 1953, and spent the next fifteen years rebuilding the party from two seats when he took the party's helm to ten times that number when he stepped down in 1970.[1] Delegates from the Ontario CCF, delegates from affiliated union locals, and delegates from New Party Clubs took part in the founding convention of the New Democratic Party of Ontario held in Niagara Falls in early October, 1961.[1]

The Ontario NDP gradually picked up seats through the 1960s. It achieved a breakthrough in the 1967 election, when its popular vote rose from 15% to 26%. The party increased its presence in the legislature from 8 to 20 seats.[1] In that election the party ran on the themes of the cost of living, taxes and housing and also promised progressive labour legislation.[1]

Official Opposition

Stephen Lewis took over the party's leadership in 1970, and the NDP's popularity continued to grow. With the 1975 provincial election, the governing Conservatives were reduced to a minority government for the first time in thirty years. The charismatic and dynamic Lewis ran a strong election campaign that forced the Tories to promise to implement the NDP's rent control policies.[1] The NDP overtook the Liberals to became the Official Opposition with 38 seats and 29% of the vote. However, the Tories retained power as a minority government.

Hopes were high that the NDP was on the verge of taking power, but in the 1977 election, the Tories under Bill Davis again won a minority government. The NDP lost five seats, and slipped into third place behind the Liberals.[1] A frustrated Lewis resigned shortly afterwards.

Michael Cassidy was elected leader, but being the most left-wing of the three leadership candidates, he was not fully trusted by the party establishment. Cassidy's policy advisor in the leadership campaign was James Laxer, a former leader of The Waffle NDP faction which Lewis had expelled from the party in 1972. Some members of the NDP caucus considered Cassidy's election as a serious mistake, and encouraged him to resign before contesting an election. Cassidy ignored this advice, and remained as leader. The NDP declined further in the 1981 election and Cassidy stepped down.

The party's fortunes turned around under the leadership of Bob Rae.[1] The NDP captured two by-elections at the cost of the Liberals. In late 1984, polls showed Rae's NDP ahead of the David Peterson-led Liberals.

The Rae years

The 1985 election resulted in a minority legislature: the Tories under Premier Frank Miller won 52 seats, the Liberals won 48, and the NDP 25.[1] The New Democrats entered negotiations with both the Tories and the Liberals. The NDP signed a two-year accord with the Liberals, in which the Liberals would form government with the NDP's support in exchange for the implementation of a number of NDP policies.[1] This was not a coalition government as the NDP declined an offer to sit in Cabinet, preferring to remain in opposition. The governing Tories were defeated by a non-confidence motion and Miller resigned.

When the accord expired in 1987, Premier David Peterson called an election and the Liberals were re-elected with a large majority. The NDP lost seats but emerged as the largest opposition party, with Bob Rae becoming Leader of the Opposition.

Shortly before the general election of 1990, the governing Liberals held a solid lead in the polls, though their popularity had tailed off from 1987. However, Peterson's government was soon mired in scandals and many regarded the early election call as cynical. Under Rae, the NDP ran a strong campaign, which was also aided by a successful federal NDP showing a couple years earlier. Although the NDP finished only three percentage points ahead of the Liberals, they managed to take many seats in the Greater Toronto Area away from the Liberals. As a result, the NDP won a large majority government of 74 seats[1] while the Liberals suffered the worst defeat in their history.

Bob Rae became Premier of Ontario during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. In government, the NDP disappointed supporters by abandoning much of its ambitious program, including the promise to institute a public auto insurance system. As the recession worsened, the NDP implemented what it called the Social Contract — which represented a shift to the right that anticipated that of Tony Blair's Labour Party in the United Kingdom. This was a package of austerity measures that:

  • reopened the collective bargaining agreements of public sector unions;
  • implemented a wage freeze for public servants; and
  • imposed Rae Days, which were a schedule of days in which government workers were given days off without pay.

The Social Contract resulted in a major breach in the NDP's alliance with the labour movement as several unions turned against the party. Rae's government passed employment equity legislation and amended the province's labour law to ban the use of replacement workers during strikes, but this did not win back union support.[1]

At one point, the NDP fell to a low of 6 percent support in polling. An ominous sign for the party came in the 1993 federal election, in which all of the NDP's Ontario MPs lost their seats. It was obvious by the 1995 election that Rae's government would not be re-elected. The official opposition Liberals under Lyn McLeod were initially the beneficiaries of the NDP's unpopularity, but their poor campaign saw the momentum swung to the resurgent Tories under Mike Harris, who vaulted from third in the legislature to win a large majority. The NDP fell down to 17 seats, third place in the Legislative Assembly. In 1996, Rae stepped down as party leader and resigned his seat in the legislature.

Hampton's leadership

Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton in February 2007.

Rae was succeeded by Howard Hampton who defeated Frances Lankin, a member of Rae's inner circle, for the party leadership. Rae has since joined the Liberal Party of Canada and was an unsuccessful candidate for party leadership in December 2006 and December 2008.

Under Hampton, the party has largely repudiated Rae's policies and renewed its commitment to a moderate form of socialism. Shortly after the 1999 election, Hampton cited the Swedish model of social democracy as closely reflecting his own beliefs. However, the party has never fully healed the breach with organized labour that resulted from the Social Contract, nor has it been able to regain the popularity it enjoyed in the late 1980s.

NDP support fell even further in the 1999 election, leaving the party with just nine seats. However, this was largely due to tactical voting in which NDP supporters voted Liberal in hopes of removing Harris and the Tories from power. As a result, Hampton was not blamed for this severe defeat and stayed on as leader.

Under the rules of the Legislative Assembly, a party would receive official party status, and the resources and privileges accorded to officially-recognized parties, if it had 12 or more seats; thus, it initially appeared the NDP would lose caucus funding and the ability to ask questions in the House. However, the governing Conservatives changed the rules after the election to lower the threshold for party status from 12 seats to 8. The Tories had reduced the size of the legislature, so provincial ridings now had the same boundaries as the federal ones, and so the official party status threshold was lowered. Some suggested that the Tories helped the NDP so they could continue to split the vote with the Liberals, although the Conservatives had stated before the election campaign even began that reducing official party status to eight seats was part of the seat reduction plan from the very beginning.

2003 election: losing official party status

In the 2003 election, the party emphasized their "Public Power Campaign", which had two key issues, primarily publicly-owned electricity generation and distribution, and publicly-run auto insurance.[4] As well, the Public Power Campaign also dealt with rolling-back the social program cuts from the Harris government's Common Sense Revolution. Many media outlets – including The Globe and Mail – thought that party leader Howard Hampton performed strongly in the televised leaders' debate.[5] Despite Hampton's debate performance and a 2.4% increase in the popular vote, the party lost two seats, once again losing official party status and their previous speaking privileges and funding.[5] One of the problems that likely affected NDP support was strategic voting, not unlike that of the 1999 election.[6] This voting practice did do damage to the NDP's electoral fortunes because it was interpreted as a call for blanket support for Liberal candidates over NDP candidates, with no real thought to which candidate had a better chance to defeat a Conservative in any individual riding.[7] Several unions, such as the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), promoted strategic voting to their membership and the public, which further added to the party's woes.[8] The newly elected Liberal government offered to give the NDP caucus research funding if their members would accept their status as independents. Hampton refused and disrupted the government Throne Speech in protest.[9]

By-elections: regaining official party status

The first by-election in the 38th Legislative Assembly of Ontario, was in the riding of Hamilton East, caused by the untimely death of the riding's MPP, Dominic Agostino, on March 24, 2004. This tragic event, in conjunction with a recent and unpopular tax increase by the Liberals, provided the NDP with an opportunity to regain party status. A by-election was called for May 13, 2004, in which the new Liberal candidate, Agostino's brother Ralph, was challenged by NDP candidate Andrea Horwath, a Hamilton city councillor. In a fight for its political life, the NDP ran an all-out campaign to win the seat, aided by the city's large base of unionized steelworkers. On election night, Horwath took 63.8 per cent of the vote in the seat, bringing the NDP back to eight seats in the Legislature and allowing them to regain official party status.

The NDP's representation in the Legislature was again reduced to seven seats when Marilyn Churley resigned her seat to run in the 2006 federal election. However, the Liberals reversed their position and declared that the NDP would retain party status even if they lost the upcoming Toronto—Danforth by-election. Some opposition sources believed the Liberals, mindful of their humiliating defeat to Horwath, had loosened their interpretation of the rules so that whomever ran for the NDP in Toronto—Danforth couldn't use the threat of lost status in a campaign. This issue became moot when, on March 30, 2006, NDP candidate Peter Tabuns won the by-election in the Toronto—Danforth riding by a 9% margin over the Liberals' Ben Chin, alleviating another party status crisis.

The NDP scored a surprise victory over the Liberals in the late summer of that year in the riding of Parkdale—High Park. Liberal Education Minister Gerard Kennedy resigned on April 5, 2006 to run for the Federal Liberal Party leadership. The government took an unusually long time to call the by-election, waiting until August 16 to drop the writ. It turned into one of the most vicious elections in recent Ontario memory, almost on par with Jolliffe's 1945 "Gestapo" campaign. This time though, the NDP were not making the accusations; NDP candidate Cheri DiNovo's credibility was put to the test by what most of the media considered to be unworthy and underhanded personal attacks launched by the Liberals. The tactic backfired; on September 14, 2006, DiNovo defeated Liberal candidate – and incumbent Toronto city councillor – Sylvia Watson by taking 41% of the popular vote to Watson's 33%.[10]

In the riding of York South—Weston, adjacent to Parkdale—High Park and once the seat of former leaders Bob Rae, Donald C. MacDonald and Ted Jolliffe, the NDP continued its string of recent by-election successes by taking away another Liberal strong-hold. On February 8, 2007, Paul Ferreira narrowly defeated Liberal candidate Laura Albanese by 358 votes, or 2%. This victory increased the NDP caucus' seat total to ten, up by three since the October 2003 general election.[11]

2007 Ontario general election

In the 2007 general election, the party increased its share of the popular vote by two percent but did not make any gains in the Legislature, with the loss of Paul Ferreira in York South—Weston being offset by the victory of Paul Miller in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek. France Gélinas also successfully retained the riding of Nickel Belt, following the retirement of Shelley Martel. The other eight NDP ridings were all retained by their incumbent MPPs.

Early polling in September 2006 showed the party with 27% support, its highest recorded level since 1992.[12] By early 2007 support had fallen to 17% support, further behind the two front-running parties but still slightly ahead of the party's 15% result in the 2003 election.[13] [14] September 2007 polling had the NDP at 14%,[15] while the September 29th Ipsos poll had them at 17%,[16], meaning that NDP's support has been constant for a year within the margin of error. Though the same Ipsos poll suggested that the NDP would elect 12 members to the Legislature,[16] the party would eventually elect only 10.

On June 14, 2008, Hampton announced he would be stepping down as leader at the Ontario New Democratic Party leadership election, 2009.

Leaders of the Ontario CCF/NDP

2 The Ontario CCF was succeeded by the Ontario NDP in 1961.

3 Bud Wildman was interim leader of the NDP in the Ontario legislature from Rae's resignation as an MPP to Howard Hampton's election as party leader.

Structure

The officers of the ONDP are the leader, the party president, six vice-presidents and the treasurer. Apart from the leader, the party officers are elected at the party's biennial convention. The leader is head of the parliamentary party and leads the party caucus in the Ontario legislature and is the party's presumed candidate to lead an NDP government should the party be called upon to form a government. The Provincial Secretary is an employee of the party and manages the day to day party organization outside of the legislature. The Provincial Secretary is hired by the party executive with the ratification of the provincial council.

The party's provincial executive is composed of the party's officers, 6 men and 6 women elected on a regional basis, 3 women and 3 men elected at large, 1 woman and 1 man elected by the Ontario New Democratic Youth, 2 women representing the Women's Committee, 1 woman and 1 man representing the Lesbian, Gay and Trans-identified Committee, 1 women and 1 man representing the party's ethnic committees, 1 woman and 1 man representing the Disability Rights Committee and one woman and one man representing the Aboriginal Section.

The highest decision making body of the party is the provincial convention held once every two years. The convention is made up of delegates elected by riding associations, sections of the party (ONDY, Women's, LGBT, Ethnic, Aboriginal, Disability), affiliates such as labour unions and other bodies.

The Provincial Council is the next highest decision making level and meets between conventions, usually three or four times a year. the Provincial Council is made up of the provincial executive, two representatives of the party's provincial caucus, two members elected from each riding association, representatives of regional party bodies, representatives of sections of the party and party affiliates.[17]

Election results

Year of election Candidates elected # of seats available # of votes % of popular vote
1934 1 90 na 7.0%
1937 0 90 na 5.6%
1943 34 90 na 31.7%
1945 8 90 na 22.4%
1948 21 90 na 27.0%
1951 2 90 na 19.1%
1955 3 98 na 16.5%
1959 5 98 na 16.7%
1963 7 108 na 15.5%
1967 20 117 na 25.9%
1971 19 117 na 27.1%
1975 38 125 na 28.9%
1977 33 125 na 28.0%
1981 21 125 na 21.2%
1985 25 125 865,507 23.8%
1987 19 130 970,813 25.7%
1990 74 130 1,509,506 37.6%
1995 17 129 854,163 20.6%
1999 9 103 551,009 12.6%
2003 7 103 660,730 14.7%
2007 10 107 741,043 16.8%

References and notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Ontario New Democratic Party, History of the NDP, accessed February 14, 2008
  2. ^ Caplan, p.168
  3. ^ Caplan, p.170
  4. ^ Campbell, Murray (30 September 2003). "Sensing rout of PCs, NDP turning sights on Ontario Liberals". The Globe and Mail Newspaper. pp. A7. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20030929.UMURRN_3/PPVStory/?DENIED=1. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  5. ^ a b Mittelstaedt, Martin (3 October 2003). "NDP loses its official status despite surge in popular vote". The Globe and Mail Newspaper. pp. A9. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20031003.UNDPPN/PPVStory/?DENIED=1. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  6. ^ "Hampton pleads for minority government". The Globe and Mail Newspaper. 30 September 2003. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20030930.whamp0930/PPVStory/?DENIED=1. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  7. ^ Urquhart, Ian (17 September 2003). "Polls show NDP in a tough spot". News (Toronto Star Newspaper). http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/thestar/access/406117941.html?dids=406117941:406117941&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Sep+17%2C+2003&author=Ian+Urquhart&pub=Toronto+Star&edition=&startpage=A.06&desc=Polls+show+NDP+in+a+tough+spot. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  8. ^ "CAW head to target Ontario Tories". The Globe and Mail Newspaper. 19 August 2003. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v5/content/subscribe?user_URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2Fstory%2FRTGAM.20030819.wcaww0819%2FBNStory%2FNational%2F&ord=10905536&brand=theglobeandmail&redirect_reason=2&denial_reasons=15885961%3A0%3B14894981%3A0%3B17167241%3A16%3B15497601%3A0%3B14279381%3A0%3B16476981%3A0%3B8694701%3A0%3B7798161%3A0%3B8059321%3A0%3B16598921%3A4%3B7193461%3A0%3B13651401%3A0%3B9337521%3A0%3B6926821%3A0%3B15604741%3A0%3B&force_login=false&force_ppv=true. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  9. ^ Urquhart, Ian (29 October 2003). "Stifling voice of NDP is hardly democratic". News (Toronto Star Newspaper). http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/thestar/access/432392561.html?dids=432392561:432392561&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Oct+29%2C+2003&author=Ian+Urquhart&pub=Toronto+Star&edition=&startpage=A.07&desc=Stifling+voice+of+NDP+is+hardly+democratic. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  10. ^ "NDP thumps Liberals in vicious Ontario by-election". National section (The Globe and Mail Newspaper). 15 September 2006. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060915.wbyelection15/BNStory/National/home. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  11. ^ Benzie, Robert (20 February 2007). "NDP formula = a perfect 10: Party welcomes 10th MPP after running on appeal to raise minimum wage". The Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/article/183555. Retrieved 2007-02-21.  
  12. ^ Environics Research Group Limited (9 September 2006). "Provincial Party Support Results June 2006: Ontario". Press release. http://erg.environics.net/media_room/default.asp?aID=610. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  13. ^ SES Research (4 February 2007). "Ontario Liberals Lead by Eight Points". Press release. http://www.sesresearch.com/library/polls/POLONT-W07-T214.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  14. ^ Ipso Canada (24 February 2007). "Ontario Politics With Just Over 7 Months To “E” Day Liberals(38%) Lead Tories (33%), NDP (17%) And Green (9%)". Press release. http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=3379. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  15. ^ The Canadian Press (19 September 2007). "Liberals hang on to lead over Tories, poll shows". Press release. http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20070919/election_poll_070919?hub=TorontoHome. Retrieved 2007-09-23.  
  16. ^ a b Ipsos-Reid/CanWest/National Post (September 29, 2007). "Post Debate Tory Tumble Gives McGuinty Liberals Ten Point Lead". Press release. http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=3656. Retrieved 2007-09-29.   These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted exclusively for CanWest News Service and Global Television from Sep 25 to September 27, 2007. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 800 adults living in Ontario was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population living in Ontario been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Ontarian population according to Census data.
  17. ^ ONDP Constitution

See also

External links

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