Andrea Horwath says if people across Ontario want a spring provincial election, she’ll do her part to make it happen.
“Our job is to get a sense from people on whether they feel the government has delivered and use that information to determine where we go,” said the leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party in Thunder Bay on Sunday.
“When it comes to whether or not there will be an election in the spring, I’m going to take my cues from the people of Ontario.”
Horwath said her party, which currently has 20 seats in Queen’s Park, is listening to people across the province to evaluate whether the minority Liberal government should be toppled during the upcoming budget season.
So far, the level of discontent seems to be growing.
“I can tell you the sense of anger and frustration is certainly higher than it was last year,” she responded when asked about potential demand for another vote.
The party is doing their part to get ready if the government falls, as Horwath was in the city for a nomination meeting where Mary Kozorys was selected to run in the Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding.
Kozorys, who was the riding’s nominee in the most recent provincial election where she was defeated by incumbent Liberal Bill Mauro by just less than 1,000 votes, was selected over former Schreiber mayor Madge Richardson.
As per party policy, results of the ballot were not made public.
She has used that experience as a positive and hopes it will allow her to follow in the footsteps of MP John Rafferty (NDP, Thunder Bay-Rainy River), who waged multiple unsuccessful campaigns before finally getting elected.
“I haven’t stopped campaigning since 2011 and I’m hearing the same issues over and over again,” Kozorys said. “It’s Hydro costs, hospital gridlock, access to services, regional roads and building Northwestern Ontario while keeping the resources here and adding value.”
Voters in Thunder Bay have selected an NDP candidate in each of the two most recent federal elections, while remaining Liberal provincially.
Horwath said her party, which includes MPP Sarah Campbell (Kenora-Rainy River), has placed a strong focus on northern issues and they are frequently discussed at caucus sessions.
“I don’t think this is just an important city for my party, I think it’s an important city for the province of Ontario,” Horwath said.
“This community is a very important piece of the opportunities the northwest can realize and I think having a strong Thunder Bay and a Thunder Bay that is treated with respect by provincial government will only help us to open more opportunities.”
With the leader’s vocal support of the region and frequent visits, Kozorys is confident she will have an advantage on the campaign trail.
“I know Andrea is becoming a household name here and I think it is really going to help propel us forward,” she said.
Kozorys will join current Coun. Andrew Foulds, who was selected as the party’s nominee in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding last March.