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New Democratic Party candidates, 2003 Ontario provincial election

The New Democratic Party of Ontario is one of three major political parties in Ontario, Canada. It governed the province from 1990 to 1995, and is currently the third-largest party in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

The NDP ran a full state of 103 candidates in the 2003 Ontario provincial election, seven of whom were elected. Three more candidates were elected in by-elections held in 2004, March 2006 and February 2007. Several NDP candidates have their own biography pages. Information about other candidates may be found here.

Peter Denley (Algoma—Manitoulin)

A columnist for the Sault Star newspaper, based in Sault Ste. Marie. A professional outdoorsman, and has written extensively about hunting. Criticized the decision of Mike Harris's government to cancel the spring bear hunt in Ontario, claiming the decision was not based on science. Also teaches fly-fishing. President of the Sault Ste. Marie NDP in 2004.

Received 9,459 votes (31.71%), finishing a strong second against Liberal incumbent Mike Brown.

Kelly Hayes (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot)

An elementary school teacher, and President of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers' Federation. Participated in the provincial teachers' strike against Mike Harris's government in 1997]. Made education the primary issue of her campaign.

Received 5,666 votes (11.69%), finishing third against Liberal Ted McMeekin. Considered running for the Hamilton municipal council in 2004 (to replace Andrea Horwath, who had been elected as an MPP), but declined.

John Thomson (Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford)

A teacher. Received a campaign donation from the Simcoe County Elementary Teachers Federation. Appeared at a "teach-in" at Georgian College, on May 8, 2003.

Received 5,641 votes (9.26%), finishing third against Progressive Conservative Joe Tascona.

Michael Prue (Beaches—East York)

Elected. See his biography page for further details.

Cesar Martello (Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale)

Defeated. Ran for the federal NDP in the 2004 federal election. See his biography page for further details.

Kathy Pounder (Brampton Centre)

Defeated. Ran for the federal NDP in the 2004 federal election. See her biography page for further details.

Chris Moise (Brampton West—Mississauga)

Defeated. Ran for the federal NDP in the 2004 federal election. See his biography page for further details.

David Noonan (Brant)

Born in Brantford, Ontario. Twenty-three years old at the time of the election. Noonan is an executive member and former vice-president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1977. He is also a member of the Brant and District Labour Council, and works for Zehrs.

Received 5,262 votes (11.84%), finishing in third place. The winner was Dave Levac of the Ontario Liberal Party.

James Ronson (Lanark—Carleton)

Defeated. Ran for the federal NDP in the 1968 federal election. See his biography page for further details.

Liam McCarthy (Nepean—Carleton)

McCarthy is a staff member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in Ottawa, Ontario, and a member of the Voisins co-op. He supports increased political activism for co-ops in Ontario. He was previously a graduate student in political science at the University of Windsor, and led a successful unionizing drive for Windsor's graduate student body in 2002. He was 29 years old at the time of the 2003 election (Ottawa Citizen, 18 September 2003).

McCarthy first ran for the Ontario NDP in the 1999 provincial election, in the constituency of Windsor West. He defeated another candidate, Brian Kersey, for the party nomination (Windsor Star, 8 March 1999). Although the NDP has a strong history in Windsor, this seat was not a target for the party: the incumbent was Liberal Sandra Pupatello, a high-profile legislator who was endorsed by the Canadian Auto Workers union. Pupatello won re-election, while McCarthy finished third with 5,762 votes (15.48%).

The NDP does not have a strong presence in Nepean—Carleton, a suburban riding west of Ottawa. McCarthy finished third with 3,828 votes (6.54%). The winner was Progressive Conservative John Baird.

Jeff Atkinson (Ottawa Centre)

Raised in the rural village of Duart, Ontario. Atkinson's mother was a bank clerk, and his father worked at a local Ford Auto Assembly Plants. He has lived in Ottawa since 1987.

Atkinson earned a degree in political science from Carleton University in 1993 and a diploma in public relations from Algonquin College. He worked for Bradson Security as a security guard during the 1990s. He was a shop steward in the guards's union and helped organize the members during a lockout. He is now employed by the Canadian Labour Congress. Atkinson has been vocal in opposing Walmart's labour practices.

Atkinson served as the elected LGBT representative on the federal New Democratic Party executive from 2003 to 2005.

He received 11,362 votes (22.98%), finishing second to Liberal Party incumbent Richard Patten. Atkinson served on Patten's riding association executive in the 1990s when Atkinson was a Liberal.

Atkinson lost to Will Murray for the NDP nomination in Ottawa Centre for the Ontario general election, 2007 on March 1, 2007.

Ric Dagenais (Ottawa—Orléans)

Defeated. Ran for the federal NDP in the 2004 federal election. See his biography page for further details.

James McLaren (Ottawa South)

Born in Lanark County, came to Ottawa in 1995. A physics teacher in the city. Past-president of the Heron Park Community Association. McLaren has also served on the board of Parkway House.

He campaigned in Ottawa South in the 1999 provincial election and received 2,655 votes (5.8%), finishing third. In 2003, he improved his total to 4,306 (9.03%). The winner on both occasions was Dalton McGuinty, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

Joseph Zebrowski (Ottawa—Vanier)

Zebrowski was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and has a Master of Arts degree in political science from Université Laval. He entered the University of Toronto as a PhD candidate in the late 1990s, and was a leader of the university's Teaching Assistant's union during a TA strike (Ottawa Citizen, 18 November 2000). He later moved to Ottawa, and worked first for the Public Service Alliance of Canada (Ottawa Citizen, 24 September 2003), and later for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Zebrowski is also an activist for affordable housing, and is vice-president of the Cooperative Housing Association of Eastern Ontario, as well as a director on the Ontario Council of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada.

He was a spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (Montreal Gazette, 13 December 2005). He is also a host of the CKCU-FM weekday morning program Special Blend, (Ottawa Citizen, 12 November 2004) and appears as a panelist on CPAC.

Zebrowski campaigned federally and provincially (Ontario) for the New Democratic Party. A report from the 2003 Ontario provincial election listed him as 34 years old (Ottawa Citizen, 17 September 2003).

Electoral record
Election District Party Votes % Place Winner
2000 federal Ottawa—Vanier NDP 4,194 8.71 4/9 Mauril Belanger, Liberal
2003 provincial Ottawa—Vanier NDP 6,507 3/4 Madeleine Meilleur, Liberal

Marlene Rivier (Ottawa West—Nepean)

Defeated. Ran for the federal NDP in the 2004 federal election.

John Bacher (St. Catharines)

Bacher is an academic and environmental activist. He received his Master of Arts degree in 1980, and earned a PhD in History in 1985. He has worked as a professor at the University of Toronto and McMaster University, and has published two books: Keeping to the Marketplace and Petrotyranny. Bacher has also written for Peace Magazine , and is a director of the Great Lakes United Church. He served on the Ontario Drainage Tribunal from 1992 to 1997.

Bacher was president of the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS) for seven years, and has written numerous articles on the need for effective Greenbelt legislation in the Niaraga region. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Historical Society of Catharines in 2002 , and participated in an effort to save the Red Hill Valley escarpment in 2003. A newspaper report lists him as 48 years old in 2003.

Bacher has campaigned for the NDP at both the provincial and federal levels.

Electoral record
Election District Party Votes % Place Winner
2000 federal St. Catharines NDP 2,878 6.16 4/7 Walt Lastewka, Liberal
2003 provincial St. Catharines NDP 3,944 8.95 3/5 Jim Bradley, Liberal

Harvey Wyers (Sudbury)

Harvey Wyers is a former Inco worker, and a long-time activist within the New Democratic Party. He regularly took a leave of absence from his day job to work full-time for the party in every federal and provincial election from 1974 to 1990, and was a fixture of the party's Northern Ontario wing throughout this period. After scaling back his activities for a time in the mid-1990s, he became a prominent party organizer once again in the 2000s.

Wyers supported Richard Johnston for the provincial leadership in 1982, and expressed concern that rival candidate Bob Rae, the eventual winner, was too centrist to lead the party. He nonetheless supported Rae's position on resolution of an Inco strike later in 1982.

He attended a conference of the Palestinian Trade Unions Federation in Tunis in 1983, and reported that most delegates continued to support Yasir Arafat's leadership despite a split within the Palestinian Liberation Organization. He also said that the United States would "have to start hearing the cries of want from [the Palestinians]" if they wanted to reduce Soviet influence in the region.

Wyers served on the executive of the Sudbury and District Labour Council in the early 1980s, as a representative of the United Steelworkers of America Local 6500. In January 1985, his union credentials were revoked by Steelworkers president Ron MacDonald at a tumultuous meeting of the council. (At issue was whether or not the Steelworkers could bypass the labour council, and directly appoint MacDonald as the labour representative on the board of Cambrian College. Wyers argued that the labour council would need to approve any appointment.) MacDonald's decision to revoke Wyers' credentials was upheld by a narrow vote, and almost half the labour delegates walked out of the meeting in protest. Wyers later supported David Patterson's bid for re-election as Ontario director of the United Steelworkers in late 1985, while MacDonald backed a different candidate.

In 1986, Wyers and other parents took the provincial Ministry of Education and the Sudbury Board of Education to court, challenging requirements that students take part in mandatory prayers and scripture readings. The courts ruled in Wyers' favour in 1989.

Wyers declined to work full-time for the NDP in the 1993 federal election, citing the party's drift away from socialist economic policies following Bob Rae's victory in the 1990 provincial election. "I now know what it means to find out that God is dead," he said. "The Ontario government has shaken me up that way." He said that he would still vote for the NDP, but that his faith in the party had been compromised. He became more involved with the NDP again following Rae's departure as leader in 1996.

By now retired from Inco, Wyers ran for the Ontario NDP in the 2003 provincial election. He called for Sudbury to focus on the mining sector, rather than developing "low-paying retail and service sector employment". He also spoke against the Mike Harris government's policy of lifetime bans for persons convicted of welfare fraud. During one debate, he quipped "can you imagine if one of these corporate guys got nailed for tax evasion and just got out of jail and is no longer to make money anymore? Wyatt received 4,999 votes (14.00%), finishing third against Liberal incumbent Rick Bartolucci.

Wyers served on the Sudbury and District Labour Council again in 2004, and called for the city to resolve a three-month old strike at Greater Sudbury Utilities Inc. in September of that year. He has also served as president of his local division of the Canadian Red Cross. Wyers sarcastically endorsed Rae's bid to lead the Liberal Party of Canada in 2006, describing him as "a good Liberal leader of the (Ontario) NDP party".

Madeline Crnec (Windsor—St. Clair)

Crnec was 53 years old at the time of the election (Windsor Star, 23 September 2003), and won the NDP nomination without opposition. Prior to the election, she was best known in the Windsor area as the NDP representative on "Percy's Panel", a local Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program. (Windsor Star, 22 March 2003). She holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees, and has taken post-graduate training in homeopathy, acupuncture and nutrition in Toronto, Sri Lanka and the United States. She has been a chiropractor since 1984 and a naturopath since 1989. Crnec has participated in the Windsor OPIRG organization. She was a member of the Community Care Access Centre in Windsor, but resigned in 2002, to protest cutbacks. (Windsor Star, 25 January 2002).

She was supported by the Canadian Auto Workers in the 2003 campaign. Crnec received 10,433 votes (29.10%), finishing second against Dwight Duncan.

As a representation of the Windsor Chiropractic Association, Crnec protested against the provincial government's decision to de-list chiropractic and optometry visits from Ontario Health Insurance Premiums in 2004. (Windsor Star, 2 November 2004).

Yvette Blackburn (Windsor West)

Blackburn attended the University of Windsor, and was a member of the university's Black Students Alliance (Windsor Star, 6 April 1992). She received a silver medal in the women's 60-metre hurdles in 1989, awarded by the Ontario Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Association (Windsor Star, 6 March 1989). She became unemployed youth counsellor after graduating, and was known as a community activist. In 2003, she was the executive secretary of the National Council of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations (Windsor Star, 9 October 2003). Now she serves as a drama and phy.ed teacher at Henry Kelsey Senior Public School, she also coach certain teams.

Blackburn won the NDP nomination in 2003 over Helen O'Keefe by twenty-one votes. O'Keefe had been the favoured candidate to win the nomination, and Blackburn herself acknowledged that she was surprised by her victory (Windsor Star, 10 March 2003). She was 36 years old at the time of the campaign (Windsor Star, 16 September 2003).

She received 7,383 votes (20.99%), finishing second against Liberal incumbent Sandra Pupatello. She subsequently ran in the 2007 election as the party's candidate in Scarborough—Agincourt.


The Ontario New Democratic Party fielded three candidates in the three by-elections that took place on March 30, 2006, one of whom was elected. Information about these candidates may be found here.

Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth)

Tabuns was elected over Liberal candidate Ben Chin.

Laurel Gibbons (Nepean—Carleton)

Gibbons was a businesswoman and entrepreneur in the Health and Wellness Industry at the time of the election. A supporter of health care reform, Gibbons based her election platform around the conservation of public healthcare, improved education] funding, and an increased use of green energy. She received 2489 votes (8.3%), finishing third to Progressive Conservative candidate Lisa MacLeod.

Julie Gladman (Whitby—Ajax)

Gladman was a teacher at Sinclair Secondary School during the election. Holding a seat on the Gay Straight Alliance/Human Rights Committee, she helped establish a model for schools to address harassment and homophobia, and is vice president for OSSTF District 13. Gladman was also a member of the District Bargaining Team, which developed standards for class sizes and classroom conditions.

She based her platform around the conservation of public healthcare, lower electricity prices, allowing tenants to have rent control, and putting increased funding towards GO and regional transit. She received 3204 votes (9.3%), finishing third against Progressive Conservative candidate Christine Elliott. She now has taken a teaching career in Toronto.

Cory Judson

On January 12, 2007, Cory was nominated as the Ontario New Democratic Party's candidate for the provincial by-election, on February 8, 2007. At the time of his nomination, Judson was 30 years of age, a public school teacher, youth worker, coach, and community advocate. He has co-ordinated fundraising events for organizations such as the Terry Fox Foundation, and been active in the Elementary Teachers’ Federation. Judson Judson spent 5 years working with a non-profit organization called S.T.A.R. that provides free recreation and educational programming to children from low-income communities.

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