New Dems in disarray: Part XVI
And a smoking gun
ABOVE THE FOLD
MARIT STILES just can’t seem to catch a break.
It’s been 16 days since SARAH JAMA posted her now-infamous tweet, launching a series of bad days for the rookie NDP leader who would rather be putting the heat on DOUG FORD and L’affaire Greenbelt.
A day after her Davenport office was smeared in fake blood and tagged with “Free Palestine,” Stiles reiterated her party’s call for a ceasefire in a statement many are likening to Jama’s.
Now, the calls are coming from inside Stiles’s own house, from an MPP and MP to the grassroots and Twitterati slamming her handling of the Jama drama and accusing her of perpetuating Black stereotypes and silencing racialized, dissenting voices.
It’s New Dems in disarray all over again.
To wit, Parts 1 through 16: Jama puts out a pro-Palestine tweet that fails to condemn Hamas, prompting swift blowback. Stiles passes over calls to boot Jama from caucus, asks her to retract and apologize, and after a tense 24-hour standoff, Jama says sorry but keeps her original offending statement up.
She later pins it to her profile, sparking more calls for her ouster as the PCs bring a motion to censure her in the Legislature.
Jama continues to surprise her bench mates, serving DOUG FORD with a cease-and-desist and the threat of a defamation suit, then delivers a swan-song statement in the chamber — her last, unless she retracts — that doesn’t toe the party line, making her a political liability. Stiles kicks her out of caucus, the majority-enjoying PCs pass the motion to muzzle her in the Leg, and Jama winds up on the Independent benches. Regular readers will have this down pat by now.
But it ain’t over yet.
Part 17: Outspoken NDPer JILL ANDREW — who represents Toronto-St. Paul’s, home to a large Jewish community — said she, like others in caucus, did not support Stiles’s decision to oust Jama, and that the party’s accompanying press release was misleading and perpetuated stereotypes against Black women in particular.
“People have been specifically told by leadership in various conversations that I supported the decision to remove MPP Sarah Jama from the Ontario NDP Caucus. I did not,” Andrew said on social media.
“The release went on to conjure what I feel were stereotypical tropes often used to communicate about Black people, especially Black women, who are perceived as difficult. I expressed my concerns about this release to the leadership team and to my caucus members.”
Andrew is the last Black woman standing under Stiles. Jama is now sitting with the Independents and LAURA MAE LINDO quit, citing a lack of child care.
Part 18: NDPer MATTHEW GREEN, who represents Jama’s Hamilton Centre riding on the Hill, is also decrying Stiles’s move. Jama’s censure and ouster “perpetuates a long history of racialized voices being dismissed and ignored in spaces where decisions are made,” Green said in a statement.
“It is understandable that many of the constituents who voted for MPP Jama under the NDP banner are feeling frustrated with this choice including myself. MPP Jama’s removal from caucus is a decision that was taken by the Ontario NDP alone.”
Flak continues to fly. Let’s skip ahead to Part 32: Last evening on social media, Stiles reiterates her party’s stance and urges a ceasefire — and is promptly pelted with accusations of hypocritical behaviour. NDPers DOLY BEGUM also wants “the State of Israel to put an end to all forms of collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian people” while JOEL HARDEN — who has previously landed in hot water for antisemitic statements — called for a ceasefire.
Part 33: The NDP “literally threw the only black disabled woman out of caucus for doing what they are now doing,” said X user Julia Ann Landry. “Marit Stiles wants to be the next person kicked out of the NDP by Marit Stiles,” tweeted user Hilary Agro.
Part 57: Hill Times columnist ERICA IFILL said: “I’m wondering why it’s okay for [Harden] to take this position but Sarah Jama is crucified for it. This is another example of Black women doing the dirty work that white men benefit from.”
Part 64: CADENCE WEAPON, local rapper from the Hammer, echoed the sentiment. “I will never vote for the NDP provincially again. Don’t ask me to perform at any events either. Lose my number. These political parties want the veneer of progressivism without having to stick their neck out and actually stand for something. Shameful, cowardly, pathetic.”
Part 77: Last night, Stiles emailed her Davenport constituents, acknowledging that turfing Jama has “caused hurt and disappointment” and insisted it had nothing to do with her “advocacy for Palestinian human rights or her call for a ceasefire.”
“Despite our best efforts to work together, and continued support, MPP Jama repeatedly acted independently of Caucus, which had detrimental impacts on our work and our team. We had an agreement to work together, and MPP Jama did not abide by it on multiple occasions.”
Part 92: Jama sends her own email blast to constituents, saying she’s setting up her Independent office and will continue to advocate for Hamilton Centre, despite being censured by government and ousted from Oppo.
“We are working as hard as we can to transition our office, seeing as I am now sitting as an Independent MPP. This includes hiring and rehiring staff…rebuilding new phone lines, a website, and ways to reach out.”
Fin…?: “This is why the NDP will never form government [besides that one time]. Like, this is how student council acts — not a government-in-waiting,” said one high-ranking political operative.
9:30 a.m.: SOL MAMAKWA is in the Media Studio to pump up his forthcoming motion on Indigenous health. Read on for more.
5:30 p.m.: Housing policy heavyweights talk about the latest crunch at the Empire Club, featuring DAVID COLETTO, LISA RAITT, TIM HUDAK, MIKE MOFFATT, JENNIFER KEESMAAT and ENE UNDERWOOD. Invite.
FUNDRAISING WATCH — A hat trick of moneymaking events from the PCs, featuring TODD McCARTHY in Bowmanville, PETER BETHLENFALVY and ROBIN MARTIN in Toronto, and DOUG DOWNEY and ANTHONY LEARDI in Amherstburg.
For your calendar: Finance Minister Bethlenfalvy will take a post-FES victory lap and address the Canadian Club on November 7. RSVP.
ON THE ORDER PAPER
First up: Another round of second-reading debate on Bill 139, the PCs latest red-tape reduction package. That’s expected to continue in the afternoon.
After the morning’s Question Period, a deferred vote: On NDPer JEFF BURCH’s backbench Bill 38, to establish a licensing framework for supportive living accommodation.
Later on, NDP SOL MAMAKWA will move his (non-binding-but-symbolic) motion calling on the government to adopt their report on the Indigenous Determinants of Health “so that Ontario recognizes ‘Indigeneity’ and ‘colonialism’ as overarching and intersectional determinants of health across Government ministries.”
Killed: The NDP’s motion to create Homes Ontario, their pitch for a new agency to build 250,000 affordable homes.
Tacked on: The Liberals tried, but failed, to add a few amendments to the PCs motion calling on the feds to “eliminate the carbon tax on grocery items,” namely: that Ontario “move to raise the Ontario Child Tax Benefit” and “remove all taxes from agricultural inputs including: sales, income, and corporate taxes from farm equipment, fertilizer, fuel and all other inputs that increase the cost of food.”
ON THE COMMITTEE CIRCUIT — 9 a.m.: JON ECKER is in the hot seat to talk about his appointment to the board of the Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology.
COCKTAIL CHATTER — The Association of Ontario Midwives is hosting an MPP breakfast in Room 228. Later on, the Ontario Kinesiology Association takes over for a lunch reception.
— PENSION PLANS: “Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said she will meet with her provincial and territorial counterparts to discuss the future of the Canadian Pension Plan, as Alberta considers pulling out of the CPP while asserting that the province would be entitled to more than half the plan’s assets.”
More from the Globe: “She made the announcement hours after Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy called for such a meeting while warning that Alberta’s proposal to leave the CPP and start its own plan risks “serious harm” for retirees across the country.”
— CIVIC CLASH: Speaking of Calandra, “Ontario’s big city mayors are asking the minister of municipal affairs and housing to change the eligibility for a $1.2-billion fund, saying as it stands cities will lose out on much-needed funding for housing infrastructure due to factors out of their control.”
More from CP: “Money under the three-year Building Faster Fund would be available to municipalities that meet at least 80 per cent of the provincially assigned housing targets. But they say qualifying for a piece of the fund should be based on how many building permits they approve, rather than being based on housing starts.”
— OG OP: A day after the Ford government backtracked on controversial changes to municipal Official Plans, a smoking gun from CBC: “Doug Ford's government copied, word for word, a developer's requested changes to Hamilton's official plan to allow an eight-storey condo at the current site of a designated heritage building — blindsiding city planning staff, elected officials and residents.”
Throw it on the pile: Now, “Hamilton will be seeking an RCMP probe into the Ford government’s land-use policies contained in its expansion of some municipal boundaries.” Global reports.
— STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: Also from Global: “Ontario’s housing minister is raising eyebrows after telling municipalities that long-term care beds could count toward the province’s signature promise of building 1.5 million homes by 2031, raising concerns that the Ford government is “watering down” the pledge.”