Two potential leadership candidates say they represent the diversity Ontario’s NDP needs


An Indigenous NDP MP from northwestern Ontario is weighing an NDP leadership bid, saying he would bring important prospects to the fore in the race to replace Andrea Horwath.

« It’s definitely something that could change the trajectory of people’s thinking in Ontario, » Sol Mamakwa said Thursday after being sworn in for a second term as MPP for Kiiwetinoong, a remote constituency that includes Grassy Narrows.

“A lot of people have contacted me”

Widely respected by all parties in the Legislative Assembly, Mamakwa brought increased attention to Indigenous issues such as residential schools and boil water orders. He is a former health policy adviser who worked with federal and provincial governments to push for system improvements.

More details on a leadership race, from the campaign schedule and final vote to the candidates’ financial requirements, are expected as early as next Tuesday after a meeting of the NDP’s provincial council.

« It’s in my mind, but what I really need to know is that it’s in my heart, » added Mamakwa, one of several New Democrat MPs planning to run for the leading or actively building volunteer organizations and teams.

The jockey started in earnest after Horwath announced his resignation on election night as the party fell to 31 seats in the Legislature from 40 in the 2018 vote that brought Premier Doug’s Progressive Conservatives to power. Ford.

But the New Democrats remain the official opposition with the second-most seats in the Legislative Assembly, making leadership an attractive prospect, with hopefuls seeing an opportunity if Ford stumbles in his second term.

An MLA who lost his York South-Weston seat by just 796 votes to Progressive Conservative Michael Ford – the Prime Minister’s nephew – said he was also considering a leadership bid.

« I know I’m not part of the party establishment, » Faisal Hassan told the Star, saying more racial diversity was needed in the contest. Hassan said he was discouraged that he hadn’t gotten more help from other NDP candidates in the GTA who won their ridings by comfortable margins.

He was one of five MPs in the party’s black caucus last term. Two remain after the election.

Other NDP caucus members who have expressed interest in leadership are Marit Stiles (Davenport), Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre), Catherine Fife (Waterloo) and Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls).

Hassan said a leadership race longer than the roughly six months that the party hierarchy seems to favor would give new ideas and voices more time to gain traction.

« Six months wouldn’t help us, » he said.


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