Voter dislike for Kathleen Wynne means no need to fear progressive split: Andrea Horwath

WATCH: Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party Andrea Horwath tells Eric Sorensen she thinks Premier Kathleen Wynne has already pushed herself aside and Horwath believes the NDP is a front-runner for the upcoming Ontario election.

There’s no need to fear a split in progressive voters will hand Doug Ford an easy victory in the upcoming Ontario election, says provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

That’s because she says voters have already made up their minds not to vote for Premier Kathleen Wynne.

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In an interview with The West Block, Horwath told Global’s Eric Sorenson that while splits among progressive voters in the past have propelled conservative parties to power both provincially and federally, that will not be the case in the Ontario election because there is no appetite among the public to return the Liberals to power.

“That’s the story that’s played out in a couple of past elections but this time, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are already a party that people don’t want governing the province anymore,” said Horwath.

“I believe folks have already made that decision.”

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The Ontario Liberals have been in power since 2003.

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Premier Kathleen Wynne won her current majority government in 2013 but since then, soaring hydro prices and ongoing criminal proceedings against aides to former premier Dalton McGuinty have been among a confluence of factors dragging her approval rating down to 19 per cent.

That makes Wynne the most unpopular premier in the country and while polls consistently show voter concern about the consequences of a Progressive Conservative government under Doug Ford, they also show a significant proportion of Ontarians are willing to consider voting for him.

While the provincial election campaign has not officially started, Wynne has wasted no time in attacking Ford and drawing comparisons between him and U.S. President Donald Trump — but there is little indication those are sticking.

And it appears that as Wynne and Ford focus on tearing each other apart, Horwath is focused on trying to sidestep the mess they are leaving in their wake and take advantage of what she describes as a two-horse race that does not include Wynne.

“Kathleen Wynne has already pushed herself aside,” she said.

“Now the choice is between myself and Mr. Ford.”

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A similar situation 28 years ago — an unpopular Liberal government, a Progressive Conservative party with a brand new leader — resulted in Ontario voters electing Bob Rae as the province’s first and only NDP premier.

Horwath, it seems, believes history could repeat itself.

“When they see our message that things don’t have to be the same that they’ve been for a long time — you don’t have to keep switching between Liberals and Conservatives, between bad and worse, you can have hope for the future of this province — then I think they will be looking at us very seriously.”

Voters head to the polls to vote on June 7.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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