Sunday, March 8, 2009

Horwath gets 60 per cent on third ballot

Yesterday in Hamilton, Andrea Horwath became the first woman to lead the Ontario New Democrats, beating out three other caucus members on the third ballot with 60.4 per cent of the vote.

Ms. Horwath’s closest rival was Peter Tabuns, a former Greenpeace director considered to be the establishment candidate. Mr. Tabuns had 39.6 per cent support. Gilles Bisson, who after losing in the second round with almost 25 per cent of the vote, crossed the floor to support Horwath. Michael Prue dropped off the ballot in the first round with just 11 per cent of the vote and threw his support behind Bisson.

Here’s a brief biography of Ms. Horwath as found here:

Andrea Horwath was born at Stoney Creek 45 years ago and worked her way through McMaster University to earn her B.A. in Labour Studies. After earning her degree, Ms horwathndpHorwath worked with the Hamilton Labour movement for several years, and later worked in the Co-op Housing movement in Welland, Ontario.

In the early 1990s she accepted a job at a Community Legal Clinic and was chosen to be the “Community Co-chair” of Hamilton’s Days of Action campaign in 1996, working with the Labour movement against the Progressive Conservative government’s cutbacks.

After serving as a Hamilton City Councillor for seven years, Ms. Horwath entered provincial politics in 2004 as a member of the Ontario Legislature, representing the Hamilton Centre riding.

Seems to me, this Ontario NDP leadership race and especially the convention this past weekend was very lightly covered. I couldn’t find live coverage on any of the networks or cable channels—unless I missed something.

After watching Ms. Horwath and her rivals “debate” on Steve Paikin’s The Agenda, she seemed to me the most likely to emerge as the winner. She’ll replace Howard Hampton (MPP Kenora-Rainy River), of course, who was leader from 1996.

The way I see it, Mr. Hampton has never particularly impressed me as a possible premier, and I doubt Ms. Horwath will attain that post either. She could, however, increase the NDP’s caucus and make that party a more relevant player in the province’s politics.