If the NDP regretted toppling a Liberal minority — apparently paving the way to a majority government — they were putting on a brave face election night.
As the results paved the way for a Liberal majority, the atmosphere was subdued as the party faithful quietly watched at the Grand Olympia Convention Centre.
Asked whether she had any regrets about toppling the government, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath insisted she had none.
“It was the right decision to make at the time and people now have had their choice so we will work with that choice and make sure that we deliver for them,” said Horwath.
She also defended her tenure as party leader.
“I did a good job as leader of our party and taking our message to the people,” she said. “We did increase our popular support. We grew in other parts of Ontario which I think is extremely important. But ultimately the work starts when the legislature resumes.”
Horwath’s re-election as MPP for Hamilton Centre was never in doubt and was met with cheers from the small crowd. But the moment of joy was quickly overshadowed when the first TV networks began to declare the Liberals the victors. Soon news of a Liberal majority further quieted the crowd.
Party spokesman Alex Callahan said it was too soon to speculate on how the party would react to Ontario’s fourth consecutive Liberal government. At doors throughout the long campaign, the party was hearing that people were tired of both the Liberals and afraid of the Progressive Conservatives, he said.
“We heard a lot of people who were frustrated by what they saw with the Liberals and they were disappointed by scandal after scandal,” Callahan said. “Tim Hudak managed to make things look scary by talking about firing 100,000 people. That had an impact on the campaign.”
Asked if the Liberal appeals to NDP voters to defeat Hudak worked, Callahan couldn’t comment.
“New Democrats are New Democrats,” he said. “If you want to vote for a progressive party, you can vote for New Democrats. People did that in ridings across Ontario.”