Dalton McGuinty speaks to the media after making an announcement to resign from the leadership of the Ontario Liberal party at Queen's Park in Toronto Oct. 15, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Mark Blinch
In an unexpected move, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his resignation, proroguing the legislature until a new Liberal leader can be elected.
In an emergency caucus meeting Monday that many suspected may be about contempt allegations, the premier announced that he will be leaving his post.
"It is my great honour and privilege to serve you as premier," McGuinty said. "It's time for renewal. It's time for the next Liberal leader."
The move is doubly unexpected considering the scandals surrounding the Ontario Liberals after it surfaced that they had not released all relevant records related to the cancellation of gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville - but announced that they did. Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley blamed the mistake on bureaucrats, but many held the Liberals responsible.
The Ontario Tories had been pursuing a contempt charge against Bentley over an 'inappropriate delay' in releasing documents on the decision to axe the plants. 20,000 unreleased documents later surfaced. The cost of cancelling the gas plants was reportedly $230 million.
The resignation has triggered a leadership race for the Ontario Liberal Party. The winning leader would indeed become premier of Ontario.
McGuinty was the province's longest serving premier. He will stay on as MPP.
Speculation is now surfacing that McGuinty could potentially run for leader of the federal Liberal Party, though nothing is confirmed.
A timeline of events in Dalton McGuinty's political career:
1990 - Elected to Ontario legislature in Ottawa South, same riding his father held.
1996 - Elected leader of the Liberal Party, following gruelling, five-ballot leadership vote to replace Lyn McLeod.
1999 - First provincial election run as leader. Branded "not up to the job" by Mike Harris Conservatives, who win second majority.
2003 - Wins first majority, defeating Ernie Eves-led Tories and forms Ontario's first Liberal government in 13 years.
2004 - Broke promise to not raise taxes, imposed health premium of up to $900 a year on taxpayers.
2007 - Wins second majority government, beating John Tory-led Conservatives.
2009 - Liberal's eHealth electronic health record plan a fiasco and billion-dollar boondoggle. eHealth CEO resigns, McGuinty apologizes. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. scandal reveals almost $200 million pocketed by insiders.
2010 - Imposed eco-tax on thousands of consumer goods, claiming it as an environmental fee, only to later scrap it. McGuinty passes secret G20 law giving cops extraordinary powers of arrest.
2011 - Wins third consecutive Liberal government but falls one seat shy of a majority. Ornge air ambulance scandal and Green Energy Act revelations expose outrageous contract abuses.
2012 - Scandals and political troubles mount: A $15-billion budget shortfall, labour turmoil with Ontario doctors and teachers over wage freezes. Liberals beset by ongoing scandal over Ornge and coverup allegations around multimillion-dollar cost to cancel two gas power plants.
Oct. 15, 2012 -- Ontario's longest-serving premier in a generation, McGuinty announces he will step down.