Cheri DiNovo, the new MPP for Parkdale - High Park.  Image from www.cheridinovo.ca

NDP March on Parkdale - High Park

Given Gerrard Kennedy's noteriety as one of the most Orange members of the Ontario Liberal Cabinet, it is perhaps no surprise that Cheri DiNovo, a United Church minister, managed to wrest Parkdale - High Park out of Liberal hands, becoming Toronto's newest MPP.

What is surprising - and happily so - is that she managed to do this despite a heavy dose of negative campaigning against her by McGuinty's Liberal party. Traditionally though, this has not been the case. Negative campaigning - anything from casting aspersions about 'hidden agendas' to, as in this case, claiming your oppenent compared Karla Homolka to Jesus (I wish I was making that up) - is very much the Buckley's Mixture of campaigning: that is, it tastes awful, but it works.

The slurs, as they often are, were condemned by all of the other parties, including the Tories' David Hutcheon, himself the victim of a smear campaign directed at him when he was still a city councillor. The optimist in me wants to believe that this victory may represent a turning point in Canadian politics; a corner which, once traveled, will take us to a hallway of clean campaigning, where ideas rule rather than fear. The realist in me though, realises that one victory for sensibility does not a pattern make, and it is likely the sheer virulence of these attacks that negated their effectiveness, rather than the idea of negative campaigning itself.

Still, it's a sign of hope.

The victory in P-HP brings the NDP to nine seats, giving them a margin of breathing space away from the bare minimum required for official party status, for the first time in many years.


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