We’re hearing rumours that Ontario NDP blood-letting in wake of June 12, 2014 election has begun

Jun 21st, 2014 | By | Category: In Brief

In an interview with the online Torontoist, MPP Cheri DiNovo has blamed the Ontario NDP’s “poor results in Toronto” in the recent provincial election on “her party’s lack of focus on poverty, child care, housing, and education.”

UPDATED JULY 9: At least some Ontario Progressive Conservative members of the Legislative Assembly reacted quickly and nastily to their party’s (and their party leader’s) considerably worse-than-expected results in the June 12 provincial election. So far, the Ontario New Democrat reaction has been quieter and less noticeable. (Partly, some might say, because Andrea Horwath’s NDP did not do as badly as Tim Hudak’s PCs.)

All this may now be changing. We’ve just been hearing unconfirmed rumours that “Gissel Yanez, ONDP campaign director will be departing shortly.  She is seen by many as the architect of the swing right and the ‘small ball’ approach to platform. In the opinion of some a Rasputin-like figure.  Others may see her as scapegoat … Absolutely committed and hardworking but difficult and autocratic.” As further deep background :

* “Gissel Yanez became Chief-of-Staff after Andrea Horwarth was elected as the provincial party’s leader in 2009.  She took over from the highly competent Paul Ferriera, a former MPP. Under Ferriera, the caucus was a smooth-running operation, with little drama or dissent. Many members of both caucus and staff believe he still should hold that position. When Yanez took over from him, the atmosphere at Queen’s Park, and on the party’s Provincial Executive, appeared to become quite toxic.”

* In the 2011 Ontario election campaign : “Campaign director Gissel Yanez organized Horwath’s leadership campaign and has been her chief of staff for two years. Yanez has managed campaigns across the country and helped co-ordinate the federal NDP’s 2008 campaign in Ontario — a race that saw them pick up more northern seats.”

* In the 2014 campaign : “Gisele Yanez, Chief of Staff to Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath serves as Campaign Director. Yanez is joined by Eoin Callan who heads up the war room and Jen Hassum as head of communications. The central campaign team is a mix of experience and youthful energy.”

As noted, the rumours we’ve heard are unconfirmed. But if they do prove true, they suggest that, unlike Tim Hudak, Andrea Horwath will not be resigning in response to her party’s also at least somewhat worse-than-expected results. But she will be reorganizing her staff.

UPDATE JULY 9 : This past Friday, July 4, the Globe and Mail reported that “Andrea Horwath’s office is in the midst of a shakeup following the New Democrats’ poor election result in June, with her two top aides scheduled to leave over the summer. Long-serving chief of staff Gissel Yanez and principal adviser Elliott Anderson are both heading out the door as the party regroups.”

Just three days later, on Monday, July 7, the online Torontoist published an interview with the re-elected NDP MPP for Parkdale-High Park, Cheri DiNovo, in which Ms DiNovo worried that “her party abandoned its socially progressive values during the recent provincial election.” In reference to the imminent departure of Yanez and Anderson, DiNovo also said, “You can change the strategists, you can change the chief of staff … those are probably good things to do. But at the end of the day it’s about who we are as a party and what we stand for that we need to look at as New Democrats.”

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