More and more New Democratic Party activists are signing a petition initiated by the NDP Socialist Caucus to demand that Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath resign.
Horwath waged the worst NDP campaign since Bob Rae attempted to defend his infamous Social Contract in 1995. She had no mandate to veer to the right of the Liberal Party in a vain attempt to appeal to Conservative supporters and the business class. She had no mandate to abandon the fight for social justice in favour of a crass appeal to consumerism.
The NDP platform emphasized “making life more affordable” by removing the HST from electricity bills, reducing car insurance rates by 15%, opening up a few more child care spaces, shortening hospital wait times, and offering a mere $1 increase in the hourly minimum wage. At the same time, Horwath pledged to continue the practice of bribing big private corporations to create jobs – without demanding any public ownership or democratic control of state investment.
Horwath projected a small increase in corporate taxation, but no plan to conscript the hidden, un-taxed billions of dollars – what a former head of the Bank of Canada calls ‘dead Capital’. That means the NDP proposed no way to fund a serious attack on poverty, on homelessness, or to end the deepening crises in public transit, education and health care.
Horwath and her strategists said nothing about phasing out nuclear power plants, stopping Line 9, satisfying the just claims of indigenous peoples, curtailing state surveillance, and terminating police repression of the kind that was unleashed during the G-20 Summit in Toronto. There was not even a hint that the problems faced today by the vast majority of Ontarions are rooted in the decaying and increasingly destructive capitalist system.
The ONDP Leader campaigned on ‘integrity’. But she ignored a party convention decision to be tougher on the Ontario Liberal budget of 2012/13. On her watch, party conventions provide less and less time for policy debate. And Horwath’s Election Planning Committee undemocratically prevents leftists from being NDP candidates.
As big business pressure mounts on the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne to reduce the provincial deficit by cutting public services and jobs, the NDP is hamstrung by its regressive election platform, epitomized by its gravely wounded Leader. The clear choice now is for New Democrats, labour unionists, feminists, LGBTQ folks, environmentalists, socialists and social justice advocates to take the NDP away from the latter-day Blairites, and re-direct the party to lead the battle against capitalist austerity, and for socialist solutions to the mounting problems we face.
That course starts with the demand that Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath resign immediately. It is time for a full review of the party’s leadership and political direction, leading up to its November 14-16 convention in Toronto.
But how do we make that happen? It’s simple. A full review is triggered by a vote of non-confidence in the leader. A confidence vote occurs at every party convention. If even 35% of the delegates vote for a leadership review (that is, if less than 65% vote to support the current leader), a leadership race will begin.
It is clear that such a vote would open up a period of intense discussion about the future of the NDP.
This is where bold initiative is needed – to galvanize the widespread discontent in the party and its voter base by posing a concrete course of action: Demand that Andrea resign, and insist that a full review of the political direction of the party take place, starting now.
To sign the petition, follow the link here.