After Ontario's NDP posted it's best result in a decade, Leader Andrea Horwath called for all parties to work together over the next four years now that the province has a Liberal minority government.
In her speech to a cheering crowd of 400 at a downtown Hamilton convention centre Thursday night, she promised the NDP "will work with all MPPs to make our Ontario government work."
While it was unclear whether the result would be enough to give the party the balance of power in the slim Liberal majority, Ms. Horwath will still wield considerable influence. Late Thursday night, she would not name her price for supporting the minority government.
“Tonight, friends, we are just getting started,” she told supporters. “We will bring change, we will put people first and we will not let you down.”
In a scrum after her speech, she said she hasn't talked about the prospect of a coalition or deal with other leaders.
"No decisions have been made in that regard," she said.
She called for the legislature to be recalled as soon as next week.
"I do want to spend the next four years tackling the challenges we face," Ms. Horwath said. She listed making life more affordable, health care that puts people first and jobs as priorities.
The NDP leader took the stage following an introduction by Toronto councillor Mike Layton, son of late federal NDP leader Jack Layton.
Mr. Layton dubbed the night a "victory party,” after the NDP sweept historic strongholds and made inroads in areas where it has not traditionally done well, appearing to have shaken the spectre of its unpopular run in government during the early 1990s.
The first cheer of the night went up as Ms. Horwath was the first MPP to be officially projected to win her riding of Hamilton Centre.
The NDP went into the election with 10 of the 107 ridings in the province. As the nail-biting race stretched into early Friday morning, the NDP was leading in 17 seats while the Progressive Conservatives were leading in 37 and the Liberals were leading in 53 – one short of the 54 seat benchmark for a majority.
"It's time to move forward, together," Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty said in his victory speech at an Ottawa hotel, repeating his campaign slogan. "We succeeded in our goal of electing an experienced Liberal government."
In his concession speech, PC Leader Tim Hudak congratulated Mr. McGuinty but said that the Liberals' loss of seats shows "the people of Ontario have sent a clear message that they want a change in direction" and that they "have put Dalton McGuinty on a much shorter leash".
News of a Liberal victory did nothing to dampen spirits at Andrea Horwath's campaign headquarters. Instead, supporters were fired up by the gains the NDP made across the province. As every seat gain was announced – including a possible sweep of the city of Hamilton – the room burst into cheers.
"Andrea really makes me proud to be a woman," said Kimberly Crawley, 27, a Hamilton IT specialist. "Howard Hampton appealed to people, but she appeals to people even more successfully."
The New Democrats' turnaround was due in part to Ms. Horwath's personable, folksy style, which seemed to embody their image as a party of regular, middle-class people. Her campaign played on this, with unscripted encounters with voters and a deliberate avoidance of negative advertising.
The party also benefited from the momentum the federal party gained in its election breakthrough last May, and the prospect of playing kingmaker in a minority further energized it.
The campaign's messaging was unconventional, focusing on populist pledges to reduce taxes, create jobs and fight government waste rather than the NDP's usual leftist priorities, such as defending social programs and the environment.
Horwath has a very serious problem, her agenda for the promotion of hatred
towards fathers that she took over after Jack "the John" Layton turned up his
toes, the same ones that pointed skyward while he lay naked in the "velvet
touch" brothel with a chinese sex slave giving him a hand job. The same Jack
Layton that spent almost an entire lifetime promoting hatred towards men.
All our political leaders are attached by strings to the extreme feminists who have as their goal the elimination of fathers as a role in society other than s.perm donation and payors of support.
Its time for a reform of family law and none of our politicians can see that writing on the wall.