Just when conservatism was supposed to be on the ascendant throughout North America, Canada's wealthiest and most populous province went socialist for the first time. Ontario voters did this last month out of sheer disgust with party politics, the constitutional paralysis, the looming recession, a regressive federal sales tax to take effect next year, the language claims of Quebec and everything concerning Conservative federal Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
The New Democratic Party is Canada's third, and left-most, political party. It has never ruled nationally and been content with province administrations in the prairies and far West. No one was more surprised than Robert K. Rae, the party's leader in Ontario, when he was elected premier.
He has appointed a cabinet of 25, of whom 11 are women and 12 are new to the provincial parliament. The No. 2 man is "Pink Floyd" Laughren from the northern mining country of Nickel Belt, the labor minister is a former United Steelworkers organizer and the attorney general is a former lawyer for the Canadian Labor Congress.