The provincial NDP has made it official.

Davenport MPP Marit Stiles officially was enshrined as the party’s new leader during a celebration held in Toronto on Saturday.

Stiles was the only candidate to seek the leadership after Andrea Horwath stepped down following last June’s election where the NDP retained Official Opposition status but lost seven seats.

“Today, we start the countdown to the end of Doug Ford’s disastrous government, and the beginning of a bright new future for Ontario,” said Stiles in her address to party faithful.

Stiles paid tribute to long-time supporters, labour and activist groups.

She also acknowledged Horwath for her contributions as the leader for the past thirteen years.

“Under Andrea’s leadership, we grew our party and elected more MPPs, growing through by-election victories and campaigns and leading us to the largest official opposition in a generation. We all owe Andrea a debt of gratitude for her years of service to this movement and her unwavering belief in the people of this province.”

Stiles is already focused on the next provincial election.

She says the party will be starting early with the nomination of candidates

“We’re going to do it with smart ideas and a message that people connect with so that by the time the next election comes around, we’ll have already built the movement that will win.”