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Horwath names first NDP deputy leader in more than a decade

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

MPP Jagmeet Singh with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath as he's named party deputy leader Monday, April 20, 2015. (Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun)

MPP Jagmeet Singh with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath as he's named party deputy leader Monday, April 20, 2015. (Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath denies she was concerned about potential federal poaching when she named MPP Jagmeet Singh her deputy leader.

The decision to move Singh into the number two spot in caucus — after more than a decade of going without a deputy leader — was not based on a belief that the Bramalea-Gore-Malton representative would be snatched away by Thomas Mulca​ir’s federal NDP, Horwath said Monday, on announcing the promotion.

“Ontarians in 2015, it has become clear that we need someone who can speak with authority on my behalf,” she said. “Jagmeet has been a very dynamic force since he was first elected in 2011 ... Having him serve in this extremely important role will help further broaden our party’s reach to people outside of politics from young people to Bay Street professionals.”

Singh confirmed he would not be running for Mulcair in the coming federal election.

“I realized there’s a lot of work that I was able to do provincially,” he said. “There’s a lot of work that I felt I needed to continue to do. This position is a great honour but it was not a factor in my decision.”

Horwath said it was not an easy decision to bring back a deputy leader to a caucus that had not had one for so long, but it creates an opportunity to expand the party’s reach.

“We wanted to get this done before the budget came,” Horwath said, referring to Thursday’s provincial budget.

Liberal MPP Yvan Baker filed a complaint to integrity commissioner Lynn Morrison last month that Singh was using his constituency office resources to organize a campaign-style event for the federal NDP.

In a reply to Morrison, Singh said a member of his staff mistakenly used his constituency office phone number and e-mail as the RSVP contact for the event and he has reminded his staff that this is not permitted for partisan work.

antonella.artuso@sunmedia.ca


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