Skip to main content

Andrea Horwath resigns as NDP party leader after Ontario election

Andrea Horwath fought back tears Thursday evening as she announced that after 13 years, she was stepping down as leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party.

Horwath made the announcement during her concession speech at Hamilton Convention Centre after another defeat in the provincial election. Her party will return as the official opposition at Queen's Park.

"My commitment to you is never going to waver, and I'm going to keep working to earn your confidence each and every day. I'm going to keep doing that. But tonight, it's time for me to pass the torch, to pass the baton, to hand off the leadership of the NDP," an emotional Horwath said.

"And you know what, it makes me sad, but it makes me happy because our team is so strong right now."

Horwath said while her party didn't win, as the official opposition, the NDP will be ready to fight "Doug Ford's cuts."

"I'm not shedding tears of sadness. I'm shedding tears of pride. Look at you. Look at all of you. Look at what we have done together," she said.

"I can guarantee you, Ontarians, that as your official opposition, we will work hard every single day to fix what matters most to the people of our province of Ontario. You know, why? Do you know why we're going to do that work? Because your priorities were our priorities before the election. And they were our priorities during the election. And they will be our priorities after the election because that's who we are as New Democrats," Horwath added.

As of 11:30 p.m. Thursday, the NDP was elected or leading in 31 ridings. If the results hold up, the party is set to lose nine seats it won four years ago.

Ford's Progressive Conservative Party is expected to form a second majority government.

Thursday's election results were not surprising as some polls had predicted a similar outcome.

For Horwath, who was vying to lead Ontario for the fourth time, the results were not what she hoped for following her party's strong showing four years ago.

Going into the election campaign, the NDP was in a strong position with dozens of incumbents and well-filled party coffers.

However, the NDP was not able to build momentum during the four-week campaign that saw Horwath testing positive for COVID-19 at one point, which prompted her to briefly move her politicking online. Polls predicted that the party was not in the running to form government but instead was in a fight for second place with the Liberals.

And even though it won that battle on Thursday, the NDP will return to Queen's Park with fewer seats than it had at dissolution.

In 2018, the New Democrats won 40 of the 124 seats in the provincial parliament, the largest since 1990 when Bob Rae's NDP formed a majority government.

In Brampton, the NDP could not hold onto its three seats, losing all of them to the PCs.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, the party was projected to lose two of the 11 seats it gained four years ago. The riding of York South-Weston will be represented by a PC MPP for the first time with Ford's nephew, former city councillor Michael Ford. The Liberals took the other Toronto riding, Beaches-East York, which will be served by Mary-Margaret McMahon, another former city councillor.

The NDP also lost one seat in Steeltown. Hamilton East-Stoney Creek had been an NDP stronghold, with Paul Miller representing the riding since 2007. However, Miller was ousted from the party earlier this year over allegations that he was a member of an Islamophobic group on Facebook. He repeatedly denied the accusations and later sued the party.

On Thursday, former CFL player Neil Lumsden, the PC’s candidate, won that riding. Miller, who ran as an independent, came in fourth place.

Horwath won her riding of Hamilton Centre, which she has represented since 2007.

Many political pundits expected that this year's election would be Horwath's last shot at becoming premier, and any result other than that would spell the end of her time as NDP leader.

The 59-year-old became the party's first female leader when she was chosen in 2009. Despite lagging in third place in her first two elections as NDP leader, Horwath survived leadership reviews. She was credited with growing party support that culminated in 2018, when the NDP got more than 1.9 million votes.

"I want to end by guaranteeing every Ontarian that we will always, always be working for you," Horwath said. "Thank you so much." Top Stories

Stay Connected