NDP supporters say they are ‘deeply distressed’ by Horwath’s campaign

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath delivers her campaign platform during a campaign stop in Toronto on Thursday, May 22, 2014.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath delivers her campaign platform during a campaign stop in Toronto on Thursday, May 22, 2014. CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Dozens of high-profile Ontario NDP supporters say they’re “deeply distressed” by the direction the party has taken in the election and are seriously considering not voting for the party.

In a letter to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, obtained by Global News, the group of 34 long-time supporters, which includes Michele Landsberg (wife of former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis), and founder and activist Judy Rebick, warn she may lose their support “and the support of thousands of others,” ahead of the June 12 vote.

In Depth: Ontario Election 2014

“We were angry when you voted against the most progressive budget in recent Ontario history,” the letter reads. “From what we can see you are running to the right of the Liberals in an attempt to win Conservative votes.”

The letter further states the NDP risk the election of “the most right wing and vicious leader of the PCs since Mike Harris,” referring to Tim Hudak, and that the proposed Liberal budget was the most progressive in recent Ontario history.

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Earlier Friday, Horwath downplayed suggestions the party could lose ground to vote splitting among left-leaning voters attempting to block a Tory government.

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Jawara Gairey, an activist and one of the signatories of the letter, said in an email to Global News that as a long time supporter of the ONDP “I’m at a loss as to what the current provincial party is looking to gain here.”

READ MORE: Will voters buy Andrea Horwath’s common sense evolution?

“Youth unemployment and student debt are higher than ever, and working people are struggling. A Hudak victory would be devastating for working people, especially young workers, in this province,” said Gairey.

The letter, dated May 23, comes one day after the New Democrats unveiled their platform that would raise the corporate tax rate and offer financial help to hydro users, family caregivers and students if they form government. 

The NDP issued a statement Friday night calling for the “need renew democracy by guaranteeing transparency and accountability.”

“Progressives cannot turn a blind eye to corruption because it weakens the very foundations of our democracy. We need to renew democracy by guaranteeing transparency and accountability,” said Gilles Bisson, co-chair of the Ontario New Democratic campaign.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant. The support our leader is getting from people has never been warmer, our ranks never been stronger. We’re proud to stand for raising the minimum wage, increasing childcare spaces, lowering tuition, and supporting caregivers.”

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Below is a copy of the email sent to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath:

Letter to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

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