After 22 years as a member of the Ontario legislature, Dalton McGuinty resigned as premier and leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario. He has spent sixteen years as Ontario Liberal party leader and has been premier since 2003.
The best I can say about Dalton McGuinty’s years as Ontario’s premier is they could have been worse had Gerard Kennedy been premier. Kennedy, readers may remember, challenged for the Ontario Liberal leadership in 1996 and led on all of the the first four ballots, but was defeated on the fifth ballot by Dalton McGuinty, marking the only time I cheered a McGuinty victory.
According to a story in the National Post, McGuinty told his caucus, “It is time for the next Liberal Premier of Ontario. It is time for renewal.” Imagine that. I don’t remember him telling the voters of Ontario during the 2011 general election that the Liberal party needed “renewal.” Moreover, wasn’t it just the end of last month that his party reviewed his leadership and gave him 86 per cent support.
But then McGuinty’s term in office was marked by him saying one thing before an election and doing another after winning. Remember how he famously pledged in 2003 not to raise taxes, yet did so after winning his first majority. That was but one in a series of broken promises over the last decade.
More recently, McGuinty has insisted his government plans to get the province’s $14.4-billion deficit under control, yet Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, only just delivered a fall economic update in which he said the province has a $14.4-billion deficit even after benefitting from higher-than expected revenues stemming from increased corporate and personal income taxes. Incredibly, this projected deficit is higher than the last year’s $13-billion deficit.
Some might say McGuinty’s governments have been economical with the truth and have strained Ontarians’ credulity.
And even as he leaves office, McGuinty thumbs his proverbial nose at us all by proroguing the legislature to buy time for his party to deal with what the National Post calls “the ugly backlash, the scrimping, the saving, the strike threats, the cutbacks,” not to mention his attempt—again from the National Post—to “shelter his energy minister from contempt of Parliament charges for dawdling over the release of 36,000 pages of documents related to the two transferred power plants, only to have the minister reveal Monday that another 20,000 pages had somehow been ‘found’.”
I, for one, am not sorry to see him go.