Union support starts to roll in for Ontario NDP following budget defeat
United Steelworkers first union to voice support for party as province gets set for June election
TORONTO—United Steelworkers (USW) union brass are throwing their support behind Ontario’s NDP after the party announced it wouldn’t prop up the minority Liberals for another year.
“I’m behind Andrea Horwath and the NDP and their decision not to support the Ontario Liberal budget,” USW Ontario director Marty Warren said in a statement released just hours after the NDP leader announced her party would vote against the budget tabled by Finance Minister Charles Sousa this week.
“As Andrea said, it’s time for a change in Ontario. We’re tired of Liberal scandals and corruption. We’re tired of Liberals who over-promise and under-deliver.”
Horwath’s decision, announced at a press conference where she blasted Premier Kathleen Wynne for trying to over-sell the budget in a bid to hold on to power, means Ontarians will be heading to the polls next month.
“All the goodies in this budget are a tired Liberal ploy for votes,” Warren said. “The people of Ontario will soon have a choice.”
USW national director Ken Neumann also lauded Horwath.
“(She’s) on a roll,” he said. “She’s been winning by-election after by-election, doubling the size of the NDP caucus since she became leader in 2009.”
Even with the support of the USW, it would take a real campaign coup for Horwath and her party to be declared victorious in June.
The NDP currently hold only 21 seats in the provincial legislature, 16 less than the Opposition Progressive Conservatives with 37, and 27 less than the 48 seats held by the governing Liberals.
How deep union support for the NDP runs will also be called into question over the next month-and-a-half after a number of labour groups called on the party to back the Liberal budget for a third consecutive year.
In the private sector, Unifor called for Horwath to support the budget that national president Jerry Dias described as “decent,” and it remains unclear where his union stands following the defeat.