Ontario New Democratic Party

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The Ontario New Democratic Party (formerly known as the Ontario Cooperative Commonwealth Federation) is a social democratic political party in Ontario, Canada. It is a section of the federal New Democratic Party.

Contents

Origins

The NDP was founded in 1932 as the democratic socialist Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. The Ontario CCF saw itself as the successor to the 1919-1923 United Farmers of Ontario-Labour coalition that formed the government in Ontario under Ernest C. Drury.

Agnes Macphail was the Ontario CCF's first president and served as a CCF MPP from 1943 until 1951.
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Agnes Macphail was the Ontario CCF's first president and served as a CCF MPP from 1943 until 1951.

While United Farmer Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) ended up joining 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 1935, alleging Communist influence in the new party. Many active members of the UFO remained supporters, including Agnes Macphail, who served as president of the Ontario CCF until 1935 when, as a UFO Member of Parliament (MP), she was forced to officially resign from the CCF when the UFO withdrew from the party. She was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a CCF Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP)1 in 1943.

Other prominent CCFers were Graham Spry who was the Ontario CCF's chairman from 1934 to 1936 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 was elected in Hamilton East. 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

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 Tories remained in government for 42 years. The prosperity of the 1950s, combined with the anti-Communist hysteria of the Cold War, caused the CCF's fortunes to decline in the 1950s. The party lost its position as the Official Opposition in the 1951 election to the Liberal Party, and was reduced to just two seats.

Dog days

Donald C. MacDonald became leader in 1953, and spent the next fifteen years rebuilding the party. The CCF changed its named to the New Democratic Party in 1961, when it formed a formal alliance with the labour movement.

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.

Revival

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 NDP became the Official Opposition with 38 seats and 29% of the vote as the result of a brilliant election campaign that forced the Tories to promise to implement the NDP's rent control policies.

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.

The NDP declined further in the 1981 election under Michael Cassidy, but the party's fortunes turned around under the leadership of Bob Rae.

The Rae years

Missing image
Rae.jpg
Bob Rae was the first NDP (or CCF) Premier of Ontario.

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. 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.

Miller resigned, opening the way for Liberal leader David Peterson to form a government. This was not a coalition government as the NDP declined an offer to sit in Cabinet, preferring to remain in opposition.

When the accord expired in 1987, the Liberals called an election and were re-elected with a majority. The NDP returned as the second largest party with Bob Rae becoming Leader of the Opposition.

In the 1990, the party was elected to government for the first time by defeating the Liberal government.

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 echoed that on 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 the government shut down operations and sent government workers home 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. This split has not yet fully healed, and contributed to the party's defeat in the 1995 election at the hands of Mike Harris and the Progressive Conservatives. As a result of that election, the NDP again returned to third party status.

After Rae

Howard Hampton succeeded Rae in 1996. NDP support fell even further in the 1999 election, leaving the party with just 9 seats. Under the rules of the legislature, 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, 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 argued that their decision was made due the new legislature's smaller size. Others argued that the the Tories were only helping the NDP so they could continue to split the vote with the Liberals.

In the 2003 election, the party alienated some traditional supporters with an over-reliance on sophomoric photo ops. It won over some new supporters by emphasizing a few key issues, primarily "public" hospitals and "public" electricity. Despite a slight increase in raw vote, the party won only seven seats in the Ontario legislature. The NDP once again lost official party status and the concommitant speaking privileges and funding. The new Liberal government refused to change the rules as the Tories had done. However, the NDP regained party status when Andrea Horwath won a by-election in Hamilton East on May 13, 2004.

The Ontario NDP has retained its commitment to moderate socialist principles under Hampton's leadership. Shortly after the 1999 election, Hampton cited the Swedish model of social democracy as closely reflecting his own beliefs.

Leaders of the Ontario CCF/NDP

2 The Ontario CCF became the Ontario NDP in 1961

See also: Ontario CCF/NDP Leadership Conventions

Recent election results

Year of election Candidates elected # of seats available # of votes % of popular vote
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%

See also: articles on MPPs, former MPPs

1943 >

1959 >

1963 >

  • Fred Young - former Ontario NDP MPP Yorkview 1963-1981, former Ontario NDP leadership candidate, United Church Minister

1967 >

  • Ian Deans - former Ontario NDP MPP 1967-1979 for Wentworth & NDP MP for Hamilton Mountain 1984-1986

1969 (bi-election) >

  • Walter Pitman - former Ontario NDP MPP for Peterborough, former NDP MP for Peterborough, & former Ontario NDP leadership candidate

1971 >

  • Michael Cassidy - former Ontario NDP leader 1979-1982, former Ontario NDP MPP 1971-1984 Ottawa Centre, former NDP MP 1984-1988 Ottawa Centre
  • Bud Germa - former NDP MP 1967-1968 for Sudbury, former Ontario NDP MPP 1971-1981 for Sudbury

1975 >

  • Michael Breaugh - former Ontario NDP MPP for Oshawa 1975-1990, & former NDP MP for Oshawa 1990-1993
  • Marion Bryden - former Ontario NDP MPP for Beaches-Woodbine 1975-1990
  • Evelyn Gigantes - former Ontario NDP MPP for Carelton East & Ottawa Centre
  • Bud Wildman - former Ontario NDP MPP for Algoma 1975-1999


1977 >

  • Brian Charlton - former Ontario NDP MPP 1977-1995 for Hamilton Mountain
  • Dave Cooke - former Ontario NDP MPP 1977-1997 for Windsor-Riverside


1981 >

1982 (byelection) >

1985 >

  • Ruth Grier - former Ontario NDP MPP 1985-1995 for Lakeshore (in Etobicoke, Ontario), former cabinet minister

1987 >

  • Mike Farnan - former Ontario NDP MPP 1987-1995 for Cambridge

1990 >

  • Donald Abel - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Wentworth North
  • Zanana Akande - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1994, 1st Black Woman elected to Ontario Legislature & 1st Black Woman to serve as Cabinet Minister anywhere in Canada
  • Dennis Drainville - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1993 for Victoria Haliburton, Anglican Priest
  • Gilles Bisson - Ontario NDP MPP Timmins-James Bay 1999-present, Cochrane South 1990-1999
  • Marion Boyd - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1999 for London Centre
  • Jenny Carter - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Peterborough
  • David Christopherson - NDP MP for Hamilton Centre, former NDP MPP for Hamilton Centre 1990-1999 & Hamilton West 1999-2003
  • Marilyn Churley - Ontario NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth 1999-present, Riverdale 1990-1999
  • Mike Cooper - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Kitchener—Wilmot
  • Shirley Coppen - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Niagara South
  • George Dadamo - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Windsor-Sandwich
  • Noel Duignan - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Halton North
  • William Ferguson (Ontario politician) - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Kitchener
  • Derek Fletcher - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Wellington South
  • Robert Frankford - former Ontario NDP MPP 1990-1995 for Scarborough East

1998 (switch) -

  • Alex Cullen - Ottawa City Counsillor, former MPP 1997-1999 for Ottawa West, elected as a Liberal he switched after he lost his nomination in 1998.

See also: articles on prominent Ontario NDP members & organizers

1930s >

  • Murray Cotterill - prominent organizer and Ontario CCF leadership candidate in 1942
  • Lewis Duncan - Former Toronto City councillor & Ontario CCF leadership challenger in 1946

1960s >

1980s >

  • Ian Orenstein - former Ontario NDP leadership challenger, comic book artist

See also

External links

fr:Nouveau Parti démocratique de l'Ontario

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