Prorogue move sparks response
By Claire McCormack
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s announcement Monday night that he was planning to quit his post took many people by surprise, with one observer on Tuesday calling it “shocking” and another discounting talk the Liberal leader might have designs on taking over the federal Liberal party.
“It’s time for the next liberal premier, its time for the next set of liberal ideas to guide our province forward,” McGuinty said in a speech to his caucus members at Queen’s Park.
During his announcement, the premier said he would leave after a successor is chosen and he also prorogued the provincial legislature, saying the recent public sector wage freeze debate needs to be negotiated without the “heightened rancour of politics in this legislature.”
Political professor at Wilfred Laurier University, Brian Tanguay, called the premier’s move “a shocking turn of events.”
Proroguing has become an unfortunate trend in Canadian politics, Tanguay said.
In December 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper used the same parliamentary tactic. The move was seen by some as “a strategic move by Harper to gain a majority on Senate committees while possibly also avoiding criticism over the Afghan detainee issue,” CBC News reported.
“Incumbent governments confronted with really dicey situations politically decide to prorogue parliament or the legislature to take the heat off them,” he said, adding, “It seems to me to be an abuse of the power of proroguing.”
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Rumours of federal Liberal leadership run
Tanguay called buzz surrounding the idea of McGuinty running for the federal Liberal leadership “delusional” and a “pipe dream.”
“Nobody is going to ask any questions of Dalton McGuinty other than ‘Why did you leave now? Why did you leave a mess behind in Ontario?’ And it really is a mess,” Tanguay said.
Professor of politics at the University of Toronto, Norman Wiseman echoed Tanguay’s thoughts on the rumored possibility.
“I think absolutely that he is not going to run for the leadership. Why would you give up being the premier of the province to run for a third place party at the federal level? And what makes you think Ontario premiers are popular outside of Ontario? This one isn’t even popular in Ontario,” Wiseman said.
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McGuinty has been an MPP since 1990, leader of the Ontario Liberals since 1996, and premier since 2003.
His announcement Monday triggered words of praise from the prime minister.
“Our two governments have worked together to serve Ontarians, from implementing Canada’s Economic Action Plan to keeping the auto industry in the province of Ontario, and I salute Mr. McGuinty’s many years of dedicated public service,” Stephen Harper said.
LISTEN: Laurier University professor Bryan Tanguay reacts to McGuinty resignation