Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne
Credits: Stan Behal/ Toronto Sun
TORONTO — Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne has fallen off the Liberal message track, acknowledging she’s uncomfortable with her government’s decision to prorogue the legislature.
While ministers have generally held to the party line that the legislative session was unproductive and corrosive, Wynne said Wednesday that she’s looking forward to wrapping up a leadership campaign quickly and heading back into the house.
“There’s a discomfort obviously in having the legislature shut. Nobody wanted to do that. It’s not our first choice,” Wynne said. “And so having had to do that, I think that we want this to go very quickly.
“We want the people’s place to be re-opened and so that’s why I believe that the leadership race will be very quickly upon us and be quickly over and we’ll be able to resume,” she said.
Health Minister Deb Matthews said the minority parliament is not working when it takes almost a year for a healthy homes tax credit for seniors to get passed.
“This has not been a productive year in minority government,” Matthews said. “We all need to take a bit of a pause.”
Wynne and Matthews -- both widely believed to be considering leadership runs -- said they were surprised when Premier Dalton McGuinty, who gave his resignation Monday, announced any candidates would have to step out of cabinet, but nevertheless said they supported the move.
“When I heard he was doing that, I actually thought that was a stroke of genius, because historically people who are in those positions have access that mere mortals don’t,” former cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello said.
Pupatello, who could potentially benefit from McGuinty’s cabinet ban if she were to decide to run, said she has been asked to join the campaign and is thinking about it, although she hasn’t decided yet if she will.
Her party needs to not just pick a great leader but the right leader for the next election campaign against strong challenges from both Tory Tim Hudak and New Democrat Andrea Horwath, Pupatello said, adding the list of potential candidates is impressive.
“I’m looking at them and thinking, ‘could I be better than those?’ “ she said. “Because they look very good to me.”
No one has yet declared themselves a candidate, although Pupatello’s fellow Windsor MPP Dwight Duncan has acknowledged he’s thinking of it.
Liberal party president and Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi has recused himself from the organization of a leadership convention, leaving the door open to his candidacy.
A Liberal source said the party executive will meet this weekend to try and speed the campaign along. Normally, the Liberals set aside six months for a leadership campaign.