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Liberals pose as protesting NDPers

On Saturday afternoon, as NDP Leader Andrea Horwath mainstreeted in Chatham, Ont., three men stood in silent protest a few feet away.

Holding hand-made signs reading “No right turn!” and “Where are the real NDP?” the trio took square aim at Ms. Horwath’s abandonment of big picture policy for small ball populism, pointing to a deepening rift in the party that blew into the open with a letter from 34 disaffected New Democrats the day before.

There was just one problem: lanyards around the mens’ necks clearly identified them as Liberals. One even sported a button with a picture of Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

The display caused consternation for the two Liberal staffers from head office who have been shadowing Ms. Horwath’s campaign.

One staffer approached the men with signs and, after exchanging words, they promptly hid their Liberal buttons.

“We’re just doing what we were told!” one of the sign-bearers protested.

Two of them declined to be interviewed (“I prefer not to comment,” they kept repeating), but the third confirmed they were volunteers with local Liberal Terry Johnson’s campaign.

The Grits have been trying hard to exploit the rift in the NDP over Ms. Horwath’s populism. Every day, their war room sends reporters a list of quotes culled from news stories and Facebook from NDPers angry that Ms. Horwath rejected Kathleen Wynne’s left-tilting budget.

But the stunt Saturday took the disruption to a whole new level.

If only they’d remembered to remove those darn Charles Sousa buttons.

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Filed under: Ontario Election

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