Who: Andrea Horwath, leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario
Riding: Hamilton Centre
Leader since: March 2009
Age: 51 (October 24, 1962)
Zodiac sign: Scorpio, Tiger
Bio: Born in Hamilton Ont., Horwath holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Labour Studies from McMaster University. Cites her dad, a Slovak immigrant who worked at Ford Motor Co.’s assembly line in Oakville, Ont., as an early influence. Horwath worked part-time as a server to pay for her education.
Horwath currently lives in Hamilton with her son Julian Leonetti.
Politics: Elected to Hamilton City council’s for Ward Two in 1997. Entered Ontario legislature winning a 2004 byelection in Hamilton East, won 2007 provincial election in new riding of Hamilton Centre . Became the NDP’s first female leader in 2009.
Riding a populist wave and NDP support refracted from the federal election earlier that year, led her party to a 17-seat gain in the 2011 election, winning more than 20 per cent of the popular vote for the first time since 1995.
Promises: Minimum wage hike; transit cost freeze; small business tax cut; taking the HST off electricity, home heating, gasoline.
Asset: Ability to connect.
Liability: Substance. Her focus on populism – and her opposition to progressive Liberal policies – have some wondering whether there’s anything solid to her policies.
On the line: Cred: This election’s Horwath’s doing – can she capitalize on it?
Duly quoted: “What this is about is listening to the concerns of Ontarians who are tired of the scandals and the waste, tired of a government that can’t seem to get results…and giving them a choice.”
© Shaw Media, 2014