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Ontario NDP Leader Horwath says she’s not stepping down

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath waves to supporters before conceding defeat in Ontario’s election at her headquarters in Hamilton on June 12.

AARON HARRIS/REUTERS

Ontario's NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she isn't going anywhere despite her party's disappointing results in the June 12 election.

"I've spoken to a number of people around the province over the last couple of weeks and they have encouraged me to stay on as leader because we have a heck of a lot of work to do," she said Wednesday in her first news conference since the election.

Horwath triggered the election by declaring she couldn't support the minority Liberal government's budget.

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The Liberals ended up winning a majority of seats, robbing the NDP of the balance of power in the legislature that they've held since 2011.

The NDP won 21 seats, unchanged from their standing before the election. They made gains in northern Ontario, but lost three important seats in vote-rich Toronto to the Liberals.

Horwath said she has no regrets about the campaign, which raised the ire of some party supporters who said she had lost her way with populist policies and her rejection of a left-leaning budget.

Voters didn't reject the NDP's platform, she said. They just parked their votes with the Liberals because they were scared of a Progressive Conservative government that would make major cuts to government spending.

"The people of this province, they made a decision to basically choose fear or to vote out of fear as opposed to choose positive change," she said.

"That's their decision to make. That means we have a lot of work to do around the strategic voting issue and we're going to get down to doing that work."

New Democrat Percy Hatfield, who easily reclaimed his seat of Windsor-Tecumseh, says he still supports Horwath "absolutely 100 per cent" and doesn't regret his party's decision to trigger the election.

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Horwath and the other 20 members of her caucus were discussing the election in a closed-door meeting that was expected to last all day.

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