And now the end is here, McGuinty does it his way
There are no rules for former Ontario premiers who choose to quit as MPP, but Dalton McGuinty’s resignation Wednesday as Ottawa South’s representative is unusual, yet in keeping with his unorthodox approach to public service. As with Frank Sinatra, he did it his way.
McGuinty leaves Ottawa South after 23 years as MPP, but his sudden departure is perhaps historic. Few Ontario premiers have left the political stage as abruptly, with so many unanswered questions.
Progressive Conservative Bill Davis retired as premier in January 1985 and didn’t seek re-election as Brampton MPP in the May election that followed.
Frank Miller lost the PCs’ hold on the government, but hung in as MPP for two more years, choosing not to seek re-election in 1987.
His successor, Liberal David Peterson, lost his government and his own London-area riding in September 1990.
New Democrat Bob Rae won that election, but lost the next in 1995. He resigned both his party’s leadership and as MPP for York South in early 1996, on the same day.
PC Mike Harris resigned as premier and as Nipissing MPP in early 2002.
His successor as party leader and premier was Ernie Eves, who couldn’t hold on to the government in the October 2003 vote. Eves resigned as MPP in January 2005, sparking a byelection.
What’s unusual about McGuinty is that he promised when he resigned as premier last fall that he would stay on as MPP until the next election.
There was controversy last fall, there is controversy now. McGuinty’s departure comes as opposition parties demand that he appear again before a legislative committee examining the gas plant cancellations and the destruction of e-mails by his senior political staff.
McGuinty hasn’t exactly been hounded out of office, but it sure seems that way.
And his departure leaves Premier Kathleen Wynne in the uncomfortable position of having to deal with three byelections. There are openings in Windsor and London with the departure of former Liberal heavyweights Dwight Duncan and Chris Bentley.
Had McGuinty hung on until the next election, as promised, his riding’s future would at least be safe and one thing less for Wynne to worry about.