Ontario New Democratic Party leadership election, 2009

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Ontario New Democratic Party leadership election, 2009

← 1996 March 7, 2009

  AndreaHorwath (cropped).png NDPChurley (cropped).jpg
Candidate Andrea Horwath Peter Tabuns
Riding Hamilton Centre Toronto—Danforth
Final ballot weighted votes 6732.34 4420.66
Final ballot percentage 60.4% 39.6%
First ballot weighted votes 4,625.29 3,437.93
Final ballot percentage 37.1% 27.6%

  Gilles Bisson crop (cropped).jpg Andrea Horwath and Michael Prue 2009 (cropped).jpg
Candidate Gilles Bisson Michael Prue
Riding Timmins—James Bay Beaches—East York
Final ballot weighted votes Eliminated Eliminated
Final ballot percentage
First ballot weighted votes 2,954.23 1,438.44
Final ballot percentage 23.7% 11.5%

Leader before election

Howard Hampton

Elected Leader

Andrea Horwath

Ontario New Democratic Party leadership election, 2009
Date March 6–8, 2009
Convention Copps Coliseum,
Hamilton, Ontario
Resigning leader Howard Hampton
Won by Andrea Horwath
Ballots 3
Candidates 4
Entrance Fee $10,000 (plus a $5,000 refundable deposit)
Spending limit $500,000[1]

Ontario CCF/NDP leadership conventions

1942, 1946, 1953, 1961, 1968, 1970, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1996, 2009

The 2009 Ontario New Democratic Party leadership election was held in Hamilton, from March 6 to 8, 2009 to elect a successor to Howard Hampton as leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP). On June 15, 2008, Hampton informed the party's provincial council that he would not stand for re-election as leader at the next party convention in a year's time.[2][3] While a leadership vote was held at each biennial convention of the Ontario NDP until and including the last regular convention in 2007, there is normally not a contested vote unless there is a vacancy, therefore, the 2009 vote was the party's first leadership convention since Hampton was elected in 1996 to succeed Bob Rae.

With the support of high-profile party members such as the left-wing MPP Peter Kormos and Sid Ryan, the President of CUPE Ontario, Andrea Horwath, the MPP for Hamilton Centre, won the leadership contest with 60.4% of the vote on the final ballot. As of 2018, it remains the last leadership election held by the Ontario New Democratic Party.


Gilles Bisson[edit]

Gilles Bisson

Gilles Bisson, 52, is the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Timmins—James Bay. He was first elected in the 1990 provincial election in the riding of Cochrane South. He served as parliamentary assistant to the Ministers of Northern Development and Mines and Francophone Affairs from 1990 until 1995. He was re-elected by a greater margin in Cochrane South in the 1995 election. He was subsequently re-elected in Timmins—James Bay in the 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections. Before entering politics, he was a labour union organizer.

Andrea Horwath[edit]

Andrea Horwath

Andrea Horwath, 46, is the MPP for Hamilton Centre. She was defeated in the 1997 federal election in Hamilton West, where she finished a distant second place. She was first elected to Hamilton, Ontario City Council in 1997, representing Ward 2. She was re-elected in 2000 and again in 2003. She was first elected to the Ontario legislature in a by-election in 2004 in the riding of Hamilton East with 63.6% of the vote. She was subsequently re-elected in the riding of Hamilton Centre in the 2007 election. Before entering politics, she was a community development worker.

Michael Prue[edit]

Michael Prue

Michael Prue, 60, is the MPP for Beaches—East York. He has been an MPP since 2001 when he defeated Liberal Bob Hunter in a hotly contested by-election.[1][13][14][15] Prue was first elected to public office as a city councillor in 1988, and then became mayor in 1993 of the former Borough of East York. In 1997, East York was amalgamated into the City of Toronto and Prue was elected to Toronto City Council, where he served until his election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Prue was re-elected as MPP of Beaches-East York in 2003, and again in 2007. Prior to entering politics, Prue worked as counsel for the Minister of Employment and Immigration.

Peter Tabuns[edit]

Peter Tabuns

Peter Tabuns, 57, is the MPP for Toronto—Danforth. Tabuns served on Toronto City Council from 1990 to 1997 representing Ward 8. He was defeated in 1997 ironically by two NDP affiliated candidates (one of whom being former NDP leader Jack Layton who represented Tabuns' riding in the House of Commons) when Toronto City Council was amalgamated with the Metro Council. From 1999 to 2004 he served as the executive director of Greenpeace Canada. In the Canadian federal election, 2004 he ran in the riding of Beaches—East York where he lost to Liberal MP Maria Minna. He received 32% of the vote. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in a by-election in 2006 in which he received 48% of the vote. He was re-elected in the 2007 election with 46% of the vote, Before entering politics, he was an insurance clerk.

Potential candidates who declined to run[edit]


Peter Tabuns drew on his environmentalist roots and made his proposal for a "New Energy Economy" based on green principles the centrepiece of his campaign.[33]

Michael Prue raised the idea of reviewing the Separate School System and possibly amalgamating it with the public school system. He also advocated a cities-centered economic policy and giving more power to municipalities. On party issues he advocated giving each riding association $10,000 during elections.[34]

Gilles Bisson emphasized reforms to party fund raising in order to allow riding associations to keep more of the money they raised. In public policy he advocated targeted corporate tax cuts and an anti-crime platform.[35]

Andrea Horwath advocated heavy investment in light rail. In party matters she emphasised a closer relationship to unions and the hiring of regional organisers.[36]


In the past, the Ontario NDP has used a traditional delegated leadership convention to select its leaders in which delegates elected by local riding associations, campus clubs, labour union locals affiliated with the party choose the leader. However, at its January 2007 provincial convention, the Ontario NDP amended its constitution bringing in a One Member One Vote procedure modelled on that used by the New Democratic Party of Canada in its 2003 federal leadership election in which the votes of all party members is weighted to 75% of the total with the remaining 25% being allocated to the party's affiliates (mostly labour unions).

The ONDP constitution (article 9, paragraph 4) stipulates that:

  • (a) Every member is entitled to cast a ballot for the election of the Leader.
  • (b) The ballots cast by Party members shall be weighted to a total of 75% of the votes counted in a Leadership election, and the balance, 25% of the votes counted in a Leadership election, shall be allocated among the affiliated members.
  • (c) At every regular convention that is not a leadership convention, a secret ballot vote will be held to determine whether or not a leadership election should be called. If a majority of the voting delegates supports the calling of a leadership election, such an election will be held within one year of the convention vote.
  • (d) The Leader will be chosen by secret ballot. Candidates for the leadership with the fewest number of weighted votes will drop off the ballot in subsequent rounds until one candidate receives a majority of the total weighted votes cast in that round. Other leadership selection procedures will be determined by Provincial Council.[37]

The party’s Executive Committee finalized the deadlines, spending limits and other rules for the March 2009 election.[38] The spending limit was $500,000 and the cut-off for new members was January 5, 2009. Membership fees were $25 with a reduced rate of $5 for students and the unemployed.[1] The entrance fee for candidates was $15,000 ($5,000 of which was refundable after the election) and the party and candidates were required to provide the signatures of 100 party members, at least half of them women, from all four regions of the province. Candidates were allowed to spend up to $500,000 and 40% of the money candidates raise was to be remitted to the party.[13] Two-time NDP candidate Michael Laxer has criticized the entrance fee as being too high saying, "What you get by doing that is you manifestly limit the number of people who are outside the party establishment, and who have available big backers of one kind or another."[39]

Advance voting was available via mail or internet by preferential ballot. "Real time" voting took place on March 7, 2009 by phone or internet. Those voting on March 7 voted for one candidate only per balloting round. The voting periods were announced at the convention, on the voting website, the voting phone number and on the NDP convention website. On each individual ballot separately with the lowest ranking candidate being dropped off of each successive ballot until one candidate receives a majority of the vote.

Voting results[edit]

First Ballot
Candidate Weighted Votes Percentage
Andrea Horwath 4,625.29 37.1
Peter Tabuns 3,437.93 27.6
Gilles Bisson 2,954.23 23.7
Michael Prue 1,438.44 11.5
Total 12,455.89 100

Movement: Prue eliminated, endorses Bisson

Second Ballot
Candidate Weighted Votes Percentage +/-
Andrea Horwath 5,259.06 43.6 +6.5
Peter Tabuns 3,819.82 31.7 +4.1
Gilles Bisson 2,988.12 24.8 +1.1
Total 12,067 100.0

Movement: Bisson eliminated, endorses Horwath

Third Ballot
Candidate Weighted Votes Percentage +/-
Andrea Horwath 6732.34 60.4 +16.8
Peter Tabuns 4420.66 39.6 +7.9
Total 11,152.9 100.0


  • October 10, 2007 - The 2007 Ontario provincial election is held. The Ontario Liberal Party is re-elected to a second majority government. The NDP, led by Howard Hampton, finishes in third place winning 10 seats and 16.76% of the vote, a 3-seat and 2% popular vote increase over the 2003 election (but no net change on the 10 seats held when the legislature was dissolved; the party gained 3 seats through by-elections between the two elections).
  • June 14, 2008 - Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton informs the party's provincial council that he will not stand for re-election as leader at the next party convention in March 2009.
  • July 14, 2008 - MPP Gilles Bisson declares his intention to become a candidate.[4]
  • July 15, 2008 - First date that candidates can officially register; campaign officially begins.[1][40]
  • July 15, 2008 - MPP Andrea Horwath declares her intention to become a candidate.[41]
  • July 18, 2008 - MPP Michael Prue officially announces his candidacy.[17]
  • September 30, 2008 - Deadline for registration for candidates to ensure inclusion in all the party leadership forums and in the information package mailing.[42]
  • October 26, 2008 - MPP Peter Tabuns officially launches his campaign.
  • November 1, 2008 - Bisson, Horwath, Prue and Tabuns participate in an NDP Socialist Caucus sponsored all-candidates meeting in Toronto; their first debate.
  • November 8–9, 2008 - NDP Provincial Council meeting at the Toronto Ramada Inn will decide the specific method of casting ballots for the leadership election; the first official party sponsored leadership debate.[42]
  • November 15, 2008 - Second official leadership debate is held in Sudbury.
  • November 23, 2008 - Leaders debate at the Ontario New Democratic Youth convention at Ryerson University in Toronto.
  • December 6, 2008 - Debate at Ontario NDP Women's Committee Conference, Toronto, 1pm.
  • December 13, 2008 - Fourth official debate, Kingston, 10am.
  • December 31, 2008 - Deadline for leadership candidates to register.[42]
  • January 5, 2009 - Deadline for new and renewed memberships to be received by the provincial office and be eligible to vote in the leadership election.[42]
  • January 10, 2009 - Fifth official debate - Timmins - cancelled
  • January 17, 2009 - Sixth official debate - Hamilton • 2-4pm, Hamilton Convention Centre, Albion Room
  • January 24, 2009 - Seventh official debate - London • 2-4pm, Hilton London, Queen Victoria Room
  • January 25, 2009 - Eighth official debate - Windsor - postponed due to recall of the legislature.
  • January 28, 2009 - Scarborough, Ontario debate • 7:30 pm, Scarborough Civic Centre council chamber
  • January 31, 2009 - Ninth official debate - Ottawa • 2-4pm, Lord Elgin Hotel, Pearson Room
  • February 8, 2009 - Tenth official debate - Toronto • 2-4 pm, The Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West
  • February 9, 2009 - Rescheduled eighth official debate • Windsor • 7-9pm Place Concorde - Salon Richelieu • Reception at 6:30pm (rescheduled from January 25)
  • February 14, 2009 - Eleventh official debate - Thunder Bay • 1-3 pm, Lakehead Labour Centre, 929 Fort William Road, reception at 12:30pm
  • February 23, 2009 - Advance online voting by preferential ballot begins.
  • March 3, 2009 - Deadline for mail-in preferential ballots to be returned.
  • March 6, 2009 - Leadership convention begins at the Hamilton Convention Centre
    • 7 - 9 pm Final leadership debate
    • 8 pm Advance online voting by preferential ballot ends.
  • March 7, 2009
    • 11 am - Tribute to Howard Hampton
    • 1 - 3 pm - Leadership candidate speeches
    • 3:30- 4:15 pm - First ballot "real time" voting online, by phone and in person
    • 4:45 pm - First ballot results announced, Horwath leads followed by Tabuns and Bisson. Prue eliminated, goes to Bisson.
    • 5 - 5:30 pm -Second ballot voting
    • 6 pm - Second ballot results announced. Horwath leads Tabuns. Bisson is eliminated and goes to Horwath.
    • 6:30 - 7 pm - Third ballot voting
    • 7:30 pm - Third ballot results announced - Horwath elected leader of the Ontario NDP; new leader addresses convention
  • March 8, 2009 - convention concludes


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Babbage, Maria, "Ontario NDP leadership race promises to be gruelling for candidates", Canadian Press, June 23, 2008
  2. ^ Hampton won't seek re-election as NDP leader Archived 2008-06-15 at the Wayback Machine., CTV News, June 14, 2008
  3. ^ a b c Leslie, Keith (Canadian Press), "Hampton to step down as NDP leader: Sources", Toronto Star, June 13, 2008
  4. ^ a b "Veteran MPP to run for leadership of Ontario NDP", Globe and Mail Update, 14 July 2008
  5. ^ The Canadian Press (2008-08-28). "Gilles Bisson in race for Ontario NDP leadership". Toronto: thestar.com. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  6. ^ a b c d "2009 ONDP Leadership Contest". Elections.on.ca. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  7. ^ Morse, Paul, "Hamilton MPP 'would be excellent leader' of NDP", Hamilton Spectator, June 14, 2008
  8. ^ a b c d List of Endorsements, Andrea Horwath Campaign
  9. ^ "CanadaWorld - Andrea Horwath gaining strong support". TheSpec.com. 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  10. ^ a b "Newspaper". Standard-freeholder.com. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  11. ^ Nolan, Daniel, Horwath seeks NDP leadership in Ontario, Hamilton Spectator, July 15, 2008
  12. ^ "News - Horwath to chase top NDP job". TheSpec.com. 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  13. ^ a b c Babbage, Maria; "Campaigning begins for would-be contenders to lead Ontario NDP", Canadian Press, July 14, 2008
  14. ^ No Nash for Ontario NDP , Town Crier, July 8, 2008
  15. ^ Ferguson, Rob and Benzie, Robert, "Hampton steps aside as NDP leader", Toronto Star, June 14, 2008
  16. ^ http://www.prueforleader.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=92&Itemid=87
  17. ^ a b Prue opens NDP leadership bid with school funding controversy, CBC News, July 18, 2007
  18. ^ Former East York mayor Michael Prue first into NDP leadership race, Canadian Press, July 18, 2008[dead link]
  19. ^ http://www.tabuns09.ca/node/722
  20. ^ http://www.tabuns09.ca/endorsements
  21. ^ Taylor Parnaby Reports, CFRB-AM, June 14, 2008
  22. ^ Marchese considers running for Ontario NDP leader's job[dead link]
  23. ^ a b Cowan, James, "Hampton expects several MPs could seek Ontario NDP leadership", Canwest News Service, June 15, 2008
  24. ^ a b c Benzie, "Race to succeed Hampton crowded", Toronto Star, June 28, 2008
  25. ^ Jenkins to take run at NDP leadership, Belleville Intelligencer, June 17, 2008
  26. ^ Artuso, Antonella, "Hampton out as NDP boss, North Bay Nugget, June 14, 2008
  27. ^ a b c Editorial, "Hampton's departure", Toronto Star, June 17, 2008,
  28. ^ a b Bradley, Bill, "Gelinas declines to run to replace NDP leader" Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine., Northern Life, June 16, 2008
  29. ^ Kelly, Brian, "Martin won't seek top NDP job, but eager to know who will", Sault Star, June 30, 2008
  30. ^ "Hampton urges ‘robust' leadership race for successor", Canadian Press, June 14, 2008.
  31. ^ "Nash touted to energize NDP leadership race". Toronto: thestar.com. October 19, 2008. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  32. ^ "Nash back at CAW after poll defeat". Toronto: thestar.com. November 18, 2008. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  33. ^ Lehrer, Andrew (2009-03-02). "Peter Tabuns: Green jobs key to Ontario's future". rabble.ca. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  34. ^ Lehrer, Andrew (2009-03-04). "Who should lead the Ontario New Democrats?". rabble.ca. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  35. ^ Lehrer, Andrew (2009-03-03). "Gilles Bisson: Good for the business of revitalizing the ONDP?". rabble.ca. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  36. ^ Lehrer, Andrew (2009-02-26). "Andrea Horwath: Can a fresh face change the ONDP's fortunes?". rabble.ca. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  37. ^ Ontario New Democratic Party Constitution as amended January 2007.
  38. ^ Hampton will not seek re-election as party leader, Ontario NDP website, June 14, 2008
  39. ^ "Critic says NDP leadership race too expensive", CBC News, Thursday, July 17, 2008
  40. ^ ONDP Media Release, "NDP prepares for exhilarating leadership contest", June 24, 2008
  41. ^ Horwath seeks NDP leadership in Ontario, [1], Hamilton Spectator, July 15, 2008

External links[edit]