Opening Statement



Thursday, 6 September 2012

By Elections: NDP K-W Upset, Liberals Hold Vaughan!

Kitchener-Waterloo: NDP 39.8 /Con 31.8/ Lib 24.0 Vote %

Vaughan: Liberals 51.2/ Con 33.4/ NDP: 11.3 Vote %

For complete results check here: http://electionnightresults.elections.on.ca/rr/welcome.jsp

K-W Record reports on NDP Catherine Fife's "historic win": http://www.therecord.com/news/article/794493--fife-roars-to-historic-ndp-win

K-W Record Editorial explains why "Libs didn't deserve majority": http://www.therecord.com/opinion/editorial/article/794509--liberals-didn-t-deserve-majority

Fife win a "positive change": http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/794515--fife-win-a-positive-change

Foot soldiers won election for Fife: http://www.therecord.com/opinion/columns/article/794432--ndp-stalwarts-worked-hard-and-it-made-a-difference

Ex K-W MPP Liz Witmer breaks silence on stepping down: http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/794316

A good Toronto Star overview of election day results, reactions and implications: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1252723--ndp-take-kitchener-waterloo-block-liberal-majority-as-government-holds-vaughan

Have the NDP become the new Liberals for voters looking for a party closer to the political centre? See: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1253194--walkom-kitchener-waterloo-byelection-sees-new-liberals-outpace-old-one

Star's Cohn reports on impact for party leaders: canada/politics/article/1252711--cohn-ndp-win-in-kitchener-waterloo-byelection-leaves-mcguinty-humbled-hudak-humiliated

Stars Queen's Park Bureau speculates on potential party members with knives drawn for Hudak and McGuinty. See: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1252881--hudak-blames-unions-for-tories-loss-in-kitchener-waterloo

Hudak blames loss on "public union bosses". Yawn. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/hudak-blames-tsunami-of-public-union-bosses-for-by-election-loss/article4526251/?cmpid=rss1

Walkom sees through Hudak's hypocritical "union bosses" rhetoric: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1253580--cohn-tim-2-0-needs-to-upgrade-tory-gaming-and-delete-union-scapegoating?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium

Sun's Christina Blizzard speculates Hudak in trouble over inability to unite party and win more seats from beleagured Libs: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/09/06/byelection-losses-bring-hudaks-leadership-into-question

McGuinty vows won't back down on legislation or public service wage freeze: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-ndps-by-election-win-leaves-majority-outside-liberals-grasp/article4525568/

Steve Paikin's Agenda views Lib + Con fortunes in perspective of an underdog win, then weighs NDP victory as a possible new orange crush or a one off win. Recognizes teacher impact too. A good thoughtful read: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/hudak-blames-tsunami-of-public-union-bosses-for-by-election-loss/article4526251/?cmpid=rss1

Democracy in action: a K-W voter speaks: http://www.therecord.com/opinion/letters/article/794739--political-process-works-beautifully

Commentary + Speculation: A First brush:

The McGuinty Liberal's ultimately created widespread public cynicism with an ill advised gamble to win a majority at Queen's Park by engineering an "education crisis". The McGuinty, Duncan, Broten, DuGood wing hoped they would win K-W with a surprise anti-union attack beginning this spring. Long seen by critics as a pro-teacher party, they attempted an about face beginning with the PDT talks this spring, through the OECTA MOU, to the Bill 115 legislation at Queens Park, in the lead up to today's by-election. Any hope to strip away a riding from Tim Hudak's hard right Conservatives by appealing to soft small "c" conservative right of centre voters with their tough guy stand evaporated quickly. Watch for a split in the Liberal cabinet to widen further, with this unsuccessful about face.

The McGuinty Liberal's did  not learn from the "Great Demise of the Harris Eve Conservatives" in 2003. Instead the MOE [Ministry of Education] took on teachers at their own peril. Ten years of a constructive, co-operative advance in teacher government relations was gambled and was all but lost, gone up in smoke. Was it really worth risking the teacher's strong Liberal support in hopes of winning the K-W seat for a legislative majority, and at best a very slight one at that?

An all ready rejuvenated NDP was left with an empty vacuum to the centre left in the traditional Ontario political spectrum. The win provides great traction for the Ontario NDP. Party leader Andrea Horwath is now on a roll with her increased momentum. The NDP used it's by-electioneering strength to deal the Liberals a very significant blow, with the teacher's support. A by-election is not a provincial campaign, but the NDP managed to increase the parties usually limited resources to maximum effect in the public eye. Well done.

It's bad news for Tim Hudak to lose a Conservative riding Liz Witmer held for over 20 years. He's also lost a popular red Tory Conservative, when she resigned, further pushing the party to the hard right political extreme. Centre right? Centre Left? Fine. Much further either way and a leader looses their grip on the mainstream Ontario voter pulse. Will Conservatives decide enough is enough and drop Tim? The political knifes are out! Watch this story carefully!

For me, any Conservative defeat is a victory for teachers! However, will the Liberal's now move further to the right or the left in courting Conservative or NDP support to maintain it's minority government at Queen's Park? A shift to the right is not good for teachers. Any future Liberal and NDP election split vote is also bad news for us. It could allow the Conservatives to return to power. An NDP government is still not a given, despite it's great success in K-W today. Whatever each party does over the coming months will now become very critical and significant.

So what happens next with Bill 115 in next Monday's legislative vote? It will be very interesting to see if anything changes! And the so called OECTA Road Map? Hmmmm....

In the meantime congratulations to the NDP and Catherine Fife. Tonight's victory is yours to savour!


NDP' Catherine Fife + Party Leader Andrea Horwath celebrate K-W By-election win Sept. 6th

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