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ONTARIO–The province was shocked Monday evening when six o’clock news broadcasts reported that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was unexpectedly resigning from both his post as premier and leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario.
In his speech to his caucus, Premier McGuinty said, “The opposition’s political games are holding Ontario back. They’ve told us they oppose our plan for a two-year pay freeze for government workers. That means we can’t make it law. So, we need to go back to the drawing board.”
The premier has been the leader of the provincial liberals for 16 years and premier of the province since 2003.
“We’re going to make a sincere and determined effort to negotiate a wage freeze agreement with our labour partners,” he continued, “like the agreements already reached with 80,000 public sector workers. We’re also going to consult with the opposition about what they would support to freeze wages.”
“To this end, I’ve asked the Lieutenant Governor to prorogue the legislature to allow those discussions with our labour partners and the opposition to occur in an atmosphere that is free of the heightened rancour of politics in the legislature,” the premier said. “And when the legislature returns, we will either have negotiated agreements in hand or a firm sense of what the opposition will support.”
The premier continued, emotion in his voice, saying that he would stay on as premier until a leadership convention could be arranged at the Liberal party’s earliest convenience. He will also stay on as the MPP for Ottawa South until the next general election.
In separate speeches given Monday evening, both NDP leader Andrea Horwath and Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak hope the premier will reconsider his decision to prorogue parliament. Pundits are calling it a stall tactic for the Liberal Party until a replacement can be found to lead the party, allowing the party breathing room to plan its next steps.
Phone calls to Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha for comment were not returned by press time Monday.