The year 2011 was a historic one for the New Democratic Party of Canada and for the Ontario NDP. Jack Layton, who passed away earlier this year because of cancer, was voted Newsmaker of the Year. He lead the party to historic gains in the last Federal Election, winning 103 seats, and the NDP became the official opposition party.
Cornwall - December 23, 2011 - The year 2011 was a historic one for the New Democratic Party of Canada and for the Ontario NDP. Jack Layton, who passed away earlier this year because of cancer, was voted Newsmaker of the Year. He lead the party to historic gains in the last Federal Election, winning 103 seats, and the NDP became the official opposition party.
I had the privilege of meeting Jack Layton on several occasions. He was the keynote guest speaker at the first ever Cornwall Rock the Vote which I co-organized with Elaine MacDonald in 2003. I met Jack Layton again at an Ottawa U NDP Pub Night where I had the opportunity to clink glasses with him. I met him a third time at an NDP fundraiser at the Chateau Laurier. He was friendly, articulate, outgoing, and kind. After he passed away, I went to Parliament Hill to pay my respects to Jack. It was a very emotional and challenging day because he was the politician I respected the most, and his vision touched my heart and sparked my imagination.
In Ontario, Andrea Horwath lead the provincial NDP to 17 seats and 23% of the popular vote, it's best showing since 1990. The provincial NDP hold the balance of power in a minority government, and they will hold Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals accountable. There has been growth for the NDP federally and provincially, but there has also been growth for the NDP in our riding of SDSG.
Locally Federal NDP candidate Mario Leclerc finished with 8313 votes and 17.5% of the popular vote, only a mere 185 votes behind the Liberal candidate. While Elaine MacDonald had 8,078 votes and 21% of the popular vote, finishing just 405 votes behind the Liberal candidate. Both Leclerc and MacDonald came close to finishing in second place, and with the exception of George Samis, both candidates had the best NDP showings in the history of this riding. Because of that 2011 was a historic year for the SDSG NDP.
Both the New Democratic Party of Canada and the Ontario NDP have shown significant growth, and we should be proud of all these accomplishments. However there is still much more work that needs to be done. With the way Steven Harper and Dalton McGuinty have been governing, we continue to need a strong and progressive NDP government to lead our nation and our province. The NDP leadership race is especially important. No one can replace Jack Layton, but we need a leader who can successful continue the work that he has started.
More and more Canadians are voting for hope, optimism, and love. So do not despair, because there is a bright orange future ahead of us. This is a great time to join the party, volunteer, and/or donate.