Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper take a tour of the Toyota Manufacturing plant in Cambridge, Ontario on Wed. Jan. 22, 2013.
Credits: DAVE THOMAS/QMI AGENCY
Surrounded by colleagues in the government caucus room at Queen's and with his wife, Terri, at his side, Premier Dalton McGuinty took his leave of politics and disappeared into the night.
Then there was the Our Lady of the Begonias goodbye, wherein reporters hauled their way to a greenhouse on the Holland Marsh to ask questions at what was widely tipped to be his last media availability.
Then, oops. Apparently, he had one more word for the teachers, so he called a hastily arranged news conference the next morning to plead with teachers to keep their anger with the government out of the classroom.
Then he waved goodbye as he departed for one last tour of China - presumably to say goodbye to all our manufacturing jobs as they're shipped overseas to cheap and dirty labour in that smog-bound country.
Turns out, he was just kidding about saying goodbye.
He returned this week and held another news conference in Cambridge Wednesday, this time with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to announce a $34 million provincial-federal investment in the Lexus RX450H hybrid SUV - which retails around $50,000.
So reporters sat in gridlock in our non-luxury cars for an hour and a half each way, pondering why any government would want more cars on already congested roads.
Once McGuinty had answered questions there, he hi-tailed it back to Queen's Park, where he bid the reporters who hadn't sat in the aforementioned gridlock a fond farewell.
Friday night, there's an entire festival of farewell at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Harper was left in the awkward position of being the straight guy for a premier who just won't go.
Still, Harper managed to be gracious, saying the constraints of office often make for odd bedfellows in politics.
"One of the little secrets of politics is that once you're burdened with the responsibilities of office, what you find is that all people who have those responsibilities share a lot of the same things," Harper said.
"They share common challenges, they share common opportunities, they share common problems, common limitations," he said.
"When governments work together and particularly work together on the economy the results are much better," he said.
"I think it's been a great partnership and I hope it continues," the prime minister added.
I presume the "it" is the relationship with the province.
But could it be Harper was referring to his relationship with McGuinty?
After all, the premier's going to be looking for work.
He told reporters Wednesday that he wants to find some way to serve the public.
It's not unheard of for a politician of one stripe to appoint another brand of pol to a plum post.
Former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney appointed New Democrat Stephen Lewis as Canada's ambassador to the UN.
More recently, Harper appointed Manitoba's former New Democratic premier Gary Doer to be our ambassador to the U.S.
Could this Toyota love-in be a prelude to an overseas gig for McGuinty? The UN, perhaps. Or ambassador to Ireland?
Then again, Ireland has its own economic woes. Is it really fair to inflict one of our own big spenders on them?
The natural move for McGuinty would be into academia, as president of a university.
Heck, he's quoted the romance poets to reporters enough times, I got the feeling he thought he was a lecturer already.
Provincial politicians don't have the lavish pensions of their federal counterparts, so most former premiers move into business once they quit.
They get themselves cushy deals on corporate boards.
I'm not sure McGuinty's heading that way.
What I do know is that I'm tired of going to his "final," news conference.
Is this the final scrum, or the final, final scrum?
Time to climb aboard that luxury hybrid SUV we mere mortals can't afford - and head off into whatever gold-plated sunset he has planned.