alton McGuinty puts his dukes up for the fight of his life against Ontario Premier Mike Harris - a time that seems long ago after his resignation today.
Credits: Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency
TORONTO – News of Dalton McGuinty's resignation Monday was met with a healthy dose of ambiguity by Torontonians in the moments after the premier's surprising announcement.
"I wouldn't say that he was awful," Moira Calderwood said. "But I wouldn't say that he was my favourite either."
Calderwood said she was shocked to hear the news on her walk home. She said despite scandals — like the allegations of exorbitant salaries and nepotism at the Orgne air-ambulance service, or the cancellation of a Mississauga gas plant at taxpayers' expense — nothing seemed to stick to McGuinty.
"I don't know what his legacy will be. Maybe it is the same as every premier's — you're trying to please everyone and you end up pleasing no one."
Shawn Melanson said he'd like to know why McGuinty was stepping down. He described himself as a Liberal Party supporter and speculated that the premier's battle with the province's teachers over their contracts might have been the last straw.
"I'm surprised to see him resign," Melanson said. "But I think he worked hard."
Sandra Charon said McGuinty's resignation will leave a leadership vacuum at the heart of Ontario's political landscape.
"If I were to choose any leader it would probably be him," she said, adding that she has traditionally been an NDP supporter. "He doesn't seem like an evil guy."
Andrew Vizmuller said that provincial Liberals might need to reach out and lure a superstar candidate to replace McGuinty if they want to keep their brand strong in Ontario.
"They should bring in Justin Trudeau," he said, referring to the Quebec MP and federal Liberal leadership contestant. "Everybody's talking about him right now."
Dan McLellan said he is sad to see McGuinty go as the premier has been a big supporter of the film and television industry, which McLellan works in. He said perhaps the strain of working in a minority legislature was too much for the premier.
"My sense was that he was going to find a way to make the minority work," he said. "I've very surprised."