After eight years in office representing the Liberal Party, Dalton McGuinty has resigned from his post as Ontario’s premier.
McGuinty has been historically been dubbed the “Education Premier” because of the noticeable increase in high school graduation rates, the increase in extra-curricular activities and the relatively better performance rates in Ontario schools during his tenure. Mr. McGuinty has accomplishments outside the education system as well: he has decreased hospital wait times in Ontario, making them the shortest in all of Canada. And perhaps a lesser known contribution, he has brought together the GTA’s transportation companies under one umbrella company, Metrolinx. Overall, as the head of the province for less than a decade, he has done more good than bad, and his contributions extend further than what can be put in a brief summary.
Recently, however, after his third campaign, his future in Ontario politics did not look too promising. McGuinty managed only to win a minority government in the legislature at Queen’s Park during the last provincial election, and there was also a bust in Ontario’s economic growth. This led to the ill-received pay freezes for teachers and pay cuts for doctors and public employees, many of whom were McGuinty’s key supporters.
Scandals were also in the air. First there was e-health, the electronic records system that was to be implemented but which instead resulted in the mismanagement of provincial tax dollars. This was followed by the undocumented high salaries of ORNGE air ambulance executives and, perhaps the direct cause of his resignation, the cancellation of two power plants in Ontario which resulted in the loss of billions of taxpayer dollars.
With all the negative and grueling mishaps that have taken over Queen’s Park in the recent year, it is less surprising than it would first appear that McGuinty has decided to step down. Many say it may have been a smart move to resign as opposed to attempting to tackle every item on the agenda while simultaneously attending to the province’s deficit. The premier made no mention of who his successor would be, and a leadership race will commence in the weeks to come. After parliament opens again of course, as he closed the doors to the legislature on his way out of the office, citing the controversial right of prorogation. Rumours about his possible decision to enter the federal Liberal leadership race have also been mentioned, although they remain to be pure speculation at this time.
The reason for McGuinty’s resignation has been commented and speculated upon, but for now, all that we know is that his post as the reigning premier of Ontario for nine years has come to an abrupt end.