NDP leader Horwath speaks out at [Timmins] convention – by Benjamin Aubé (Timmins Daily Press – October 21, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Andrea Horwath had one very clear message in an energy-charged speech delivered at the party’s Northern Council meeting: “Respect the North.”

Horwath was in Timmins on the weekend to speak to party MP’s, MPP’s and members, nearly 100 of whom were at the Timmins Inn and Suites Saturday afternoon to listen to the address. In her speech, Horwath emphatically criticized the current government’s ability and desire to represent the province’s people equally.

She said the problem is especially clear in the North, where residents “are feeling extremely frustrated with the policies that are coming out of southern Ontario and Queen’s Park, because they don’t reflect reality here.”

She said the only way a government can properly reflect the reality of a place is to give the people there enough respect to listen to what they have to say and hear their voices.

“We know damn well that that is not happening at Queen’s Park right now, and has not been happening for an awful long time,” exclaimed Horwath, to huge rounds of partisan cheers and applause.

“Over the last several years, (the Liberals) have continued to introduce divisive policies that pit one part of the province against another, that pit urban areas against rural areas, that pit the North against the South. That, I believe, is the worst way to govern a province successfully.”

“Northern Ontario faces all kinds of different challenges and realities than different parts of the province,” said Horwath.”We have to recognize that and actually put in place policies and all kinds of initiatives that really are focused on how to make Ontario stronger.”

The fanatical crowd cheered at every opportunity, and sometimes jeered, like when Horwath brought up Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s decision to prorogue the legislature after announcing his resignation on Oct. 15. McGuinty will remain at his post until a new party leader is selected, a process that could take many months, according to Horwath.

“It’s unacceptable that the Liberals have used this tool to shut down the legislature while they leisurely go through a leadership process,” she said. “There’s a lot of work we need to do. The (provincial budget) deficit is one of the issues, but we have a serious jobs problem in this province. People can’t afford everyday life.”

Horwath lamented that Ontarians were the the only Canadians to see their wages fall last year, and that the province has an unemployment rate higher than the country’s average.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.timminspress.com/2012/10/21/ndp-leader-horwath-speaks-out-at-convention