Jan 21, 2013

By Jane Brown

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A week from today, Ontarians will have a new premier.  Liberals gather at Maple Leaf Gardens this weekend to choose a new leader to succeed Dalton McGuinty. The winner automatically becomes Premier.

There’s been a lot of speculation that the change in leadership could plunge the province into a Spring election. But several of the candidates say they are in no rush to go to the polls.  Perceived front runner Sandra Pupatello does not have a seat in the legislature.  The former Windsor-West MPP says she would run in a by-election and would not call a general election this year.  Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has offered to give up his seat in the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh if she becomes premier.  The other Liberal leadership hopeful without a seat in the legislature is Gerrard Kennedy.  The former MP and MPP says he would also seek a seat in a by-election instead of calling a general election if he becomes premier.

The timing of a general election in Ontario will depend to a great extent on the two opposition parties, which could combine to bring the minority government down.  Although, NDP leader Andrea Horwath has indicated she’s in no rush to go to the polls.

MPP and former cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne says people want the new Liberal leader make the minority government work.  “I don’t think anybody in Ontario, the general public, believes that we need another general election right now.  We had one just over a year ago.  The mandate we were given, all three parties, was to work together.  And I think that we need to continue to do that.”

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