The Toronto Star:
Premier Dalton McGuinty is saying so long, but not necessarily goodbye.
McGuinty has resigned from Ontario
politics and taken the rare step of suspending the legislature, but not
before dangling the possibility of a run for the federal Liberal
leadership against front-runner Justin Trudeau.
In power for nine years and leader of the provincial Liberals since 1996,
the Ottawa lawyer made his stunning announcement Monday evening — just
12 months into his toughest stretch in government, leading a minority.
McGuinty, 57, said his decision stemmed from a mix of professional
headaches and personal considerations, from tense relations with rival
parties to the recent wedding of his only daughter.
A snap poll Monday night suggested Ontarians welcome his departure —
two-thirds, or 67 per cent, approved of his move, with 17 per cent
disapproving and 16 per cent having no opinion.
Forum Research, using interactive voice response technology, polled 220 Ontarians within minutes of McGuinty’s announcement.
Opposition party leaders thanked him
for his service but said it’s irresponsible to prorogue the legislature
with the province struggling to eliminate a $14.4-billion deficit and
almost 600,000 Ontarians unemployed.
Shutting the legislature will put a temporary halt to committee
hearings on the cost of the two cancelled gas plants in Mississauga and
Oakville, noted NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
“The work we need to do here is
simply too important to stop not . . . the people who make this province
work every day sent us here to do a job,” she told a news conference.
“Stopping that work, while the Liberals select a new leader, is really not serving very well the people who sent us here.”
After taking power in 2003, he made peace with public-sector workers,
particularly teachers, after years of strikes and tumult under the
But he hits the road at a time when
tumult is returning over his wage freeze on teachers and other civil
servants. Education unions, once key Liberal allies, are now more
aligned with the New Democrats having helped them win last month’s
byelection in Kitchener—Waterloo.
However, there were also damaging political scandals, including the $3,000-a-day consultants at eHealth Ontario, the ORANG
air ambulance fiasco, the cost of at least $230 million to cancel
gas-fired power plants in Liberal-held Oakville and Mississauga and a
so-called “slush fund” to ethnocultural groups, including a cricket club
that got $1 million without asking for it.
He will remain in power until a successor is elected by about 2,500
Liberal party members, including MPPs and candidates from all 107
ridings, delegates from each constituency and party brass and
The premier said he will remain as MPP for Ottawa South — which is
represented federally by his brother David, who is also mentioned as a
federal Liberal leadership contender — until the next provincial
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