Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dump Howie Website in the Works

A disgruntled Ontario Conservative launched earlier this month in an effort to organize opposition to John Tory's campaign to retain the leadership of his party.

I'm told several Ontario New Democrats are poised to launch a similar website in the new year as part of a bid to convince Howard Hampton retire as leader of the NDP. The website will likely contain a message board for New Democrats to share their thoughts on Hampton's leadership.

Several names have been suggested as replacements: Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo, former Toronto-Danforth MPP Marilyn Churley, current Toronto Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns, Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath, Welland MPP Peter Kormos, Beaches-East York MPP Micheal Prue, Hamiltom Centre MP David Christopherson, Windsor Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin, and Parkdale-High Park MP Peggy Nash.

In November, at the party's provincial council meeting, Hampton blamed everybody but himself for the party's dismal performance in the October 2007 election. Although he received a standing ovation after his speech to delegates, many party stalwarts and defeated candidates remained planted firmly in their seats, visibly unimpressed.

Hampton has said he will stay on as leader until at least after the next federal election and the next Nova Scotia election (New Democrats have a history of shipping campaign organizers across the country), at which point all options, including staying on as leader, are open. Such a timeline would not normally be objectionable, if Hampton were indeed planning to retire, but there is no strong indication that he will indeed retire. There is also concern that the Nova Scotia election may not occur until 2009 or even 2010. Therefore, grassroots NDP members are moving to convince Hampton to call it quits early, immediately after the federal election expected in the spring of 2008. From what I'm hearing on the ground, I suspect their efforts will pay off.