Duncan rules out bid for Ontario Liberal leadership
Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012 6:19AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 24, 2012 1:02PM EDT
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan confirmed Wednesday that he will not run for the leadership of the provincial Liberal party, putting to rest speculation about a potential bid.
The longtime Windsor MPP also confirmed that he has no plans to run for re-election.
“I’ve always believed that governments have a natural lifespan of about eight years,” he told reporters at a news conference in Toronto. “People just get tired of you, if for no other reason.”
Departing Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his resignation on Oct. 15, after nine years as Ontario’s premier. During his announcement, he stated that the Ontario Liberals were in need of renewal.
Duncan echoed McGuinty’s call Wednesday, referring to the “raft of talent” within the party. He name-dropped colleagues such as fellow Windsor MPP Teresa Piruzza and Vaughan Liberal Steven Del Duca.
“We’ve got a range of young, enthusiastic men and women who represent the face of Ontario, who can very ably take over,” he told reporters.
But as Duncan exits, he takes with him 17 years of experience as an MPP. His eventual departure represents another high-profile loss for the Ontario Liberals.
Duncan’s former colleague Greg Sorbara, a former finance minister, recently vacated his seat in the riding of Vaughan. The Liberals were able to hold onto the riding in a September by-election.
When asked about Duncan’s decision Wednesday, McGuinty expressed relief. He said Duncan’s choice leaves him free to negotiate a wage-freeze with the province’s public-sector workers.
"I'm delighted, from a selfish perspective…because it means we'll be able to stay focused on the most important challenge we have before us today and that is to find a way to put in place a public sector wage freeze," McGuinty told reporters.
Meanwhile, speculation about who will succeed McGuinty continues. Rumoured candidates have included Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne, Health Minister Deb Matthews and former Ontario Deputy Premier George Smitherman.
Recently, the name of former MPP Sandra Pupatello has been bandied about as a potential candidate for Ontario Liberal leadership. The ex-cabinet minister has confirmed that she is considering a run.
Pupatello served between 1995 and 2011. She has held various portfolios, including economic development and trade, education, social services, and women’s issues.
Referring to Pupatello as a friend, Duncan said he would support her if she ran.
The Ontario Liberal leadership convention will take place the weekend of Jan. 25.