Ontario NDP moves up leadership confirmation vote for Marit Stiles to next month

TORONTO — Ontario's New Democrats are moving up a vote to confirm Toronto-area legislator Marit Stiles as the party's leader.

The NDP held a meeting of its provincial council on Thursday and decided to hold the vote on Feb. 4, a month earlier than planned.

Stiles was the sole contender for the party leadership but dismissed suggestions last month that a race of one meant there is a lack of enthusiasm.

She noted that her focus after being elected leader will be on defeating Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford in 2026.

Stiles will secure the NDP's top job and become leader of the Official Opposition in the legislature following the confirmation vote as long as a majority of party members support her.

NDP President Janelle Brady says the party will be "stronger than ever" with Stiles at the helm.

"Marit Stiles is a principled and committed fighter for Ontario families," she wrote in a statement. "We'll grow our movement, build capacity in every community and offer people hope for the future."

Stiles has represented the Toronto riding of Davenport since 2018.

She has previously served as a school trustee, the party's education critic and president of the federal New Democratic Party.

Longtime New Democrat Peter Tabuns has served as interim leader since former leader Andrea Horwath announced her resignation on provincial election night in June.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2023.

The Canadian Press