Gerard Kennedy, who has represented the Liberals on both the provincial and federal level, has announced his bid for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party.

The former Ontario cabinet minister, who once campaigned, unsuccessfully, for the federal Liberal leadership, made his candidacy official Monday during his first campaign tour stop in London, Ont.

“This is about a very important job and the future of Ontario. I believe in the people that are Liberals in this province. Not because they’re better than other people, but because they’ve dedicated themselves to the public service as a privilege,” he said. “That may be something we have to prove to the rest of Ontarians again, but it’s worth doing.”

During the 15-minute speech, which included questions from his supporters, he acknowledged the fiscal battle that confronts him.

“Ontario can move forward in education and in economic opportunity. At a time like this, we have an inarguable challenge when it comes to our finances,” he said. “But if somebody wants to say to us Liberals, to us as Ontarians, that we can’t do better, simply under these constraints, then I’m saying to them, ‘you’re letting Ontario down.’”

Kennedy was first elected as an MPP in 1996 in the Toronto riding of York-South, making him the first Liberal member of provincial Parliament to represent the area.

He was later elected as MPP for Toronto’s Parkdale – High Park riding and served as Ontario’s Minister of Education between 2003 and 2006.

Just as they’ve done with previous candidates, the Ontario Tories released a statement shortly after Kennedy’s announcement branding him as "another Liberal Ontario can’t afford."

So far, four others are also vying for the Ontario Liberal leadership: former cabinet ministers Charles Sousa, Sandra Pupatello, Kathleen Wynne and Glen Murray.

Toronto MPP Eric Hoskins resigned from his cabinet post last week and has scheduled an announcement for Tuesday morning related to "renewal in the Ontario Liberal Party."