Andrea Horwath

Andrea Horwath MPP (/ˈhɔːrvæθ/ (listen); born October 24, 1962) is a Canadian politician who currently serves as the leader of the Official Opposition in Ontario since 2018 and leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) since 2009. She is the member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Hamilton Centre since 2004.

Andrea Horwath

Leader of the Opposition in Ontario
Assumed office
June 29, 2018
MonarchElizabeth II
PremierDoug Ford
Lieutenant GovernorElizabeth Dowdeswell
Preceded byVic Fedeli
Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party
Assumed office
March 7, 2009
DeputyJagmeet Singh (2015-2017)
Sara Singh
John Vanthof
Preceded byHoward Hampton
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Hamilton Centre
Hamilton East (2004–2007)
Assumed office
May 13, 2004
Preceded byDominic Agostino
Hamilton City Councillor
In office
December 1, 1997  June 16, 2004
Serving with Ron Corsini (1997–2000)
Preceded byVince Agro
Bill McCulloch
Succeeded byBob Bratina
ConstituencyWard Two
Personal details
Born (1962-10-24) October 24, 1962 (age 58)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Political partyNew Democratic
Domestic partnerBen Leonetti (c. 1985–2010)
Alma materMcMaster University
OccupationCommunity development coordinator

She is the first woman to lead the Ontario New Democratic Party, and one of only three women to serve as leader of a political party with representation in the Ontario provincial legislature (former Ontario Liberal Party leaders Kathleen Wynne and Lyn McLeod are the other two), being elected as leader at the 2009 Ontario NDP leadership convention.

At the 2018 provincial election, Horwath led the Ontario NDP to official opposition status after 23 years without government or opposition status.

Early life, education, early career

Horwath was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Labour Studies from McMaster University. She worked part-time as a waitress to pay her way through university. Her father Andrew, an ethnic Hungarian, had immigrated to Canada from Slovakia, and worked on the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company plant in Oakville, Ontario.[1] Her mother, Diane, is of French and Irish descent.[2][3]

She worked closely with the Hamilton labour movement for several years, programming and providing literacy, numeracy and ESL training for workers. She subsequently got involved in the cooperative housing movement in Welland, and later became a community development coordinator for Hamilton's McQuesten Legal & Community Services, providing public legal education to groups working with tenants, injured workers and people with disabilities.

In 1996 Horwath earned a certificate of achievement in anti-racism training, and was an organizer of Hamilton's Days of Action campaign against provincial government cutbacks announced by Mike Harris. That year she received the Woman of the Year Award in Public Affairs from the Hamilton Status of Women Committee, in recognition of her work in the community. She also dedicated her time and efforts toward the field of social housing, and was subsequently awarded the Graham Emslie Award for Community Development in Housing by the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association.

She lives in Hamilton with her son Julian (born November 1992). In a March 2011 interview with the Toronto Star, she spoke publicly for the first time about the breakup of her longtime relationship with Julian's father, Hamilton businessman Ben Leonetti.[4] Horwath had met Ben Leonetti in her university years, when she was working part-time as a waitress and he was a jazz musician. The two lived together for 25 years without getting married and split up in 2010.[5]

Early political career

In the Canadian federal election of 1997, she was the NDP candidate against incumbent Liberal Stan Keyes in the riding of Hamilton West. Although unsuccessful, her second-place finish was a significant improvement on previous NDP efforts in the riding, and gave her an increased level of prominence in the city.

City councillor

Later in 1997, she was elected to Hamilton City Council for Ward Two, outpolling two incumbents who had represented the area for more than 20 years. She emerged as a prominent voice for the political left in the city, and was re-elected to council in 2000 and 2003. During her three terms as city councillor, she chaired the solid-waste-management committee and the municipal non-profit housing corporation.

Provincial politics

By-election victory

Horwath was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in a 2004 by-election in the then-extant provincial riding of Hamilton East, defeating Liberal candidate Ralph Agostino to succeed the deceased Liberal member Dominic Agostino, Ralph's brother. Winning 63.6 per cent of the vote, up from the NDP's 29.4 per cent in that riding six months earlier, her landslide victory boosted the NDP's seat count over the threshold for official party status in the legislature, and helped give the federal New Democratic Party a bounce in Hamilton that would continue into the federal election shortly thereafter.

2007 election

In the 2007 election, Horwath ran in the new riding of Hamilton Centre, due to redistricting that divided her former Hamilton East riding between Hamilton Centre and the new riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek. Horwath's new Hamilton Centre riding included approximately half of her former riding as well as a portion of the former Hamilton West riding where she had run federally in 1997. It also included her entire former city council ward.

In the lead up to the campaign, Horwath was expected to face Hamilton West Liberal incumbent Judy Marsales. However, Marsales opted not to run for another term, and Horwath easily defeated Liberal candidate Steve Ruddick on election day.

2009 NDP leadership campaign

Horwath during a debate in the 2009 NDP leadership election

On November 7, 2008, Horwath officially launched her campaign to win the party's leadership. The leadership election was held March 6–8, 2009. Horwath led on the first two ballots, and won on the third ballot with 60.4% of the vote defeating Peter Tabuns, Gilles Bisson and Michael Prue.[6]

2011 election

The 2011 provincial election saw a rise in support for the NDP under Horwath's leadership. The party won more than 20% of the popular vote for the first time since 1995 and almost doubled its seats to elect 17 members of the legislature. The election also resulted in the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty being reduced to a minority government with the NDP holding the balance of power.

In April 2012, Horwath passed a leadership review at the party's convention with 76% support.

2014 election

Horwath during the 2014 provincial election campaign

In the 2014 provincial election, the NDP was able to maintain its seat count of 21 at dissolution despite the loss of three seats in Toronto, but lost the balance of power when the Liberals took a majority win in the election. Horwath has faced criticism from some party members and progressives for running a populist campaign which they described as right-wing.[7] Despite criticism of her leadership from some quarters, Horwath received a slightly increased level of support, 77%, at the party's post-election convention held on November 15.[8]

2018 election

Horwath ran in her third election as NDP leader against the Liberal government led by Kathleen Wynne and a Progressive Conservative Party led by Doug Ford. Horwath promised to introduce "Canada's first universal Pharmacare plan", highlighted by a universal dental plan and a prescription drug plan that "will initially cover 125 of the most commonly prescribed drugs".[9][10] She also promised a child care plan in which seventy per cent of Ontario parents "would either have free child care or pay an average of $12 a day in a licensed not-for-profit daycare".[10] Horwath promised to return Hydro One to public ownership by buying back privately held shares.[11] She also said that she would close the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station immediately, while the other party leaders have pledged to keep it open until 2024.[12] The NDP promised to increase corporate tax rates from 11.5 to 12.5 per cent,[13] as well as introducing an income tax increase for those earning over $220,000 per year.[14] Horwath said the province would fund half of the operating cost of municipal transit[15] and indicated that she would not introduce back-to-work legislation.[11] The party's support in public opinion polls increased in May 2018,[16] leading to greater media attention and greater scrutiny. With her party gaining official opposition status, she became the Leader of the Official Opposition during the 42nd Parliament, the second highest number of seats in the party's history.[17] The NDP took all of old Toronto (i.e., what was the city of Toronto before the 1999 creation of the "megacity" of Toronto), as well as all but one seat in Hamilton and all but one seat in Niagara.


In March 2012, Horwath received the EVE award which is sponsored by Equal Voice, a non-profit organization focused on promoting women in politics. Past recipients have included women from every level of government.[18]

Electoral record


2018 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
New DemocraticAndrea Horwath23,86665.25+13.24
Progressive ConservativeDionne Duncan5,73015.67+1.28
LiberalDeirdre Pike3,97910.88−12.62
GreenJason Lopez2,1025.75−2.78
None of the AboveTony Lemma3200.87
LibertarianRobert Young2880.79
IndependentMaria Anastasiou1560.43
CommunistMary Ellen Campbell1340.37−0.27
Total valid votes 100.0  
Source: Elections Ontario[19]
2014 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
New DemocraticAndrea Horwath18,69752.01-9.32
LiberalDonna Tiqui-Shebib8,45023.50+6.04
Progressive ConservativeJohn Vail5,17314.39+1.22
GreenPeter Ormond3,0678.53+4.81
FreedomPeter Melanson3340.93+0.54
CommunistBob Mann2290.64+0.28
Total valid votes 35,950100.0  
New Democratic hold Swing -7.68
Source: Elections Ontario[20]
2011 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
New DemocraticAndrea Horwath20,58661.33+16.74
LiberalDonna Tiqui-Shebib5,86117.46-11.12
Progressive ConservativeDon Sheppard4,42113.17-1.60
GreenPeter Ormond1,2493.72-5.90
LibertarianRobert Kuhlmann6341.89
IndependentMicheal Baldasaro2680.80
Family CoalitionSteve Passmore2290.68-0.94
FreedomChris Lawson1300.39
CommunistAnthony Gracey1220.36-0.46
ReformRobert Szajkowski670.20
Total valid votes 33,567 100.0
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 1770.52
Turnout 33,74442.43
Eligible voters 79,524
New Democratic hold Swing +13.93
Sources: Elections Ontario[21]
2007 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes%
New DemocraticAndrea Horwath17,13844.59
LiberalSteve Ruddick10,98528.58
Progressive ConservativeChris Robertson5,67814.77
GreenPeter Ormond3,6989.62
Family CoalitionLynne Scime6231.62
CommunistBob Mann3140.82
Total valid votes 38,436 100.0
Hamilton East by-election, 2004
(Death of Dominic Agostino)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New DemocraticAndrea Horwath15,18563.6
LiberalRalph Agostino6,36226.6
Progressive ConservativeTara Crugnale1,7727.4
GreenRaymond Dartsch4481.9
IndependentJohn Turmel1200.5


2003 Hamilton Election: Councillor, Ward 2
Candidate Votes  %
Andrea Horwath (x)4,60163.81
James Novak1,99327.64
Ronald Berenbaum3254.51
Jerry Moore2914.04
2000 Hamilton Election: Councillor, Ward 2
Candidate Votes  %
Andrea Horwath (x)4,19250.0
Ron Corsini (x)3,26339.0
Ed Fisher91111.0
1997 Hamilton Election: Councillor, Ward 2
Candidate Votes  %
Andrea Horwath3,58728.1
Ron Corsini3,36426.4
Vince Agro (x)2,09716.4
Bill McCulloch (x)2,09716.4
Jason Capobianco9027.1
John Kenyon5124.0
Jim Savage2081.6


1997 Canadian federal election: Hamilton West
Party Candidate Votes
LiberalStan Keyes (x)20,951
New DemocraticAndrea Horwath7,648
Progressive ConservativeJohn Findlay6,510
ReformKen Griffith6,285
Natural LawBrian Rickard323
Marxist–LeninistWendell Fields170


  1. Mehler Paperny, Anna (September 23, 2011). "For Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, it's all about connecting". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  2. "The game-changer: Horwath in the spotlight as budget battle looms". April 12, 2013. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  3. Talaga, Tanya (September 8, 2011). "Horwath gets support from her mom to kick off her campaign". Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  4. "Horwath opens up about life as a single mom". March 11, 2011. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  5. Diebel, Linda (October 3, 2011). "The Leaders: Andrea Horwath, Steeltown street fighter". Archived from the original on May 31, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  6. Campbell, Murray (March 7, 2009). "Horwath wins Ontario NDP leadership". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  7. Walkom, Thomas (May 28, 2014). "Gang of 34 letter points to real problems within Horwath's NDP". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on May 16, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  8. Leslie, Keith (November 15, 2014). "Andrea Horwath wins 77 percent in leadership review at NDP convention, will stay on as leader". National Post. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  9. Benzie, Robert; Rushowy, Kristin (March 19, 2018). "Andrea Horwath unveils $1.2B public dental plan". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  10. Benzie, Robert (March 17, 2018). "Ontario NDP pledges full dental coverage as part of universal health care plan". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  11. Ferguson, Rob (May 22, 2018). "An NDP government would not use back-to-work legislation to end strikes, party leader Andrea Horwath says". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  12. "Promises from Ontario's 3 main political parties on nuclear and booze". The Canadian Press. May 22, 2018. Archived from the original on May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  13. Leslie, Keith (May 22, 2014). "Ontario NDP would hike corporate taxes: Horwath". Archived from the original on May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  14. Crawley, Mike (May 23, 2018). "As Ontario NDP rises in polls, its platform and candidates get closer scrutiny". CBC News. Archived from the original on May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  15. "Ontario NDP, Liberals talk transit promises after Ford pledges gas price cut". The Canadian Press. May 17, 2018. Archived from the original on May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  16. Perkel, Colin (May 24, 2018). "NDP, Tories tied at 37 per cent support, new poll suggests; Liberals trail at 21". Global News. Archived from the original on May 24, 2018. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  17. Brean, Joseph (June 8, 2018). "An opportunity missed, Andrea Horwath welcomes loss as victory". National Post. Retrieved July 3, 2018. She meant the NDP's 33 per cent of the popular vote and 40 ridings is the best showing in a provincial election since Rae
  18. "Equal Voice Toronto announces 2012 EVE Award Recipient Andrea Horwath". 2012. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  19. "Candidate Search". Elections Ontario. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  20. Elections Ontario (2014). "Official result from the records, 031 Hamilton Centre" (PDF). Retrieved June 27, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  21. Elections Ontario (2011). "Official return from the records / Rapport des registres officiels - Hamilton Centre" (PDF). Retrieved June 3, 2014.[permanent dead link]