Questions Left Unanswered By McGuinty’s Resignation

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At this point, it’s hardly news that Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, has resigned. His resignation may have come as a surprise, both to party members and Ontarians at large, but now, more than 24 hours after the announcement, it’s nothing more than a fact of life. The real interest lies in trying to determine why he resigned, and what his future holds.

Liberal insiders, Warren Kinsella most notable among them, suggest he might be ready to campaign for federal party leadership. What’s more, there are suggestions he might win.

Others ponder the timing of his exit, suggesting that the prorogation of parliament, combined with the scandal of canceled power plants, might hint at a larger disgrace to come.

In the absence of new information, it’s impossible to tell what direction McGuinty’s winds are blowing in. But there are a number of questions that are useful, and possibly even necessary, to ask. Questions such as:

* Why is he insisting cabinet ministers resign from the cabinets if they want to run for party leadership? The official reasoning is that it is too demanding to run a cabinet and campaign for leadership, and that contenders need to commit themselves to the campaign. But in a minority government, why would McGuinty endanger the operations of the party’s cabinets?

* Why was the email sent out to party members, announcing McGuinty’s resignation, so poorly written? It’s very easy to believe the Premier himself authored it. Why would an announcement of so important a change in the party not be directed through their Media Office?

* Why did the Premier end his press conference yesterday so abruptly, and why did he choose to do so when questions turned the current gas-plant scandal?

* Why is he suddenly concerned about renewing leadership within the party now, and not last year when the Liberals were seeking re-election?

* Why is he committed to leading the party until a new leader is elected? Why is he not appointing an interim leader? Why is he resigning as party leader, but apparently still intending to act as MPP for his riding? Will a by-election occur after a new party leader has been elected?

Hard answers to these questions might never be forthcoming. Ontarians might never learn what prompted their Premier of nine years to announce his resignation out of the blue. But the questions are still worth asking, and might shed some light on the future of Ontario’s political landscape.

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Anna Davey

Known for her distinctive colouring and reclusive habits, the wild A. Davey is a species well-adapted to urban environments. A prolific breeder, this species subsists mainly on pho, gin and the internet.

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