News

Ontario MPP Kathleen Wynne resigns from cabinet, to run for Liberal leader

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

TORONTO - 

Kathleen Wynne has emerged as the first candidate to replace outgoing Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty.

McGuinty effectively confirmed Friday that Wynne was seeking the leadership after she announced she was resigning from cabinet — a requirement to enter the race.

Wynne will make it official Monday at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto.

The Don Valley West MPP is not expected to remain alone for long — former environment minister John Wilkinson, former economic development minister Sandra Pupatello, former education minister Gerard Kennedy, Health Minister Deb Matthews, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Charles Sousa, Colleges and University Minister Glen Murray, and Children and Youth Services Minister Eric Hoskins are among those considering a leadership campaign.

Energy Minister Chris Bentley, Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid and Education Minister Laurel Broten have opted not to run.

“I’m excited by the fact that Kathleen has decided to put her name in the race … Kathleen is a high-end quality candidate and I think there are a number of other quality candidates that are still considering putting in a bid,” Duguid said.

“I’m excited about the prospects that a new Ontario Liberal leader will bring to the people of Ontario.”

Tory MPP Monte McNaughton said Wynne was at the cabinet table when the McGuinty government made controversial decisions such as cancelling gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga at great expense to Ontario taxpayers.

“The only thing we’ve seen so far are many rats fleeing the ship, so to speak,” McNaughton said Friday, of the many ministers who have declined a leadership bid.

Wynne, a former Toronto public school trustee, was first elected to provincial office in 2003 and has held several senior cabinet portfolios — education, transportation and municipal/aboriginal affairs.

Wynne has three children and two grandchildren and lives with her partner Jane in North Toronto.

If elected Liberal leader and Ontario premier, Wynne would be the first woman and first openly gay MPP to assume both those roles.

The Ontario Liberals previously chose a female leader in Lyn McLeod, but it’s expected that several women will be in the race this time around.

McGuinty wasted little time in reassigning Wynne’s cabinet duties.

McGuinty announced Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli, of Ottawa West-Nepean, would also assume the role of Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Energy Minister Chris Bentley, of London West, will take on the Aboriginal Affairs file.

“I want to thank Kathleen Wynne for serving Ontarians in a number of portfolios and for her commitment to public service. Our Cabinet remains committed to delivering progress for Ontario families and I thank Minister Chiarelli and Minister Bentley for taking on these added responsibilities,” McGuinty said in a statement.

Poll

Should Kathleen Wynne put pressure on McGuinty to open the doors of the Legislature?


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