Queen's Park can be a cynical place, Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas said, so Dalton McGuinty's decision to both step down as premier and prorogue the legislature is being viewed by many as way to protect himself and his party.
Facing a second contempt motion over the decision last year to scrap unpopular gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville, a motion in which he was named, speculation is that McGuinty was looking to both avoid being called to testify about what he might know, and what he might have ordered, and to protect his party from the fallout such testimony could have.
“He would have been asked to testify under oath, now that's cancelled,” Gélinas said Oct. 16.
The cancellation of the two projects is widely seen as an attempt by the Liberals to win byelections in the aforementioned ridings and secure a parliamentary majority, using taxpayers' money to do it.
Documents released by the government show that the decision came from McGuinty and the party executive, Gélinas said, but with the prorogation and resignation nothing will ever be known for sure.
“They can now say that is all speculation,” she said.
Like Tory leader Tim Hudak, Gélinas said McGuinty's decision, which came as a surprise, is understandable — politics is a hard and tiring game to play.
“It's a tough job,” she said.
It's the prorogation that is the real kicker.
“I'm so angry about it,” she said. “He didn't have to do this. His last act as premier is to prorogue? It's an insult.”
From unemployment to a deficit, Ontario is facing challenges, Gélinas said, and with the government at a standstill until a new leader is chosen, likely in February, none of those challenges can be met.
“Proroguing helps his party, not Ontario,” Gélinas said.
Paula Peroni, who is back as the Tory candidate in the Sudbury riding, also characterized the move as insulting.
“Dalton picked up his ball and went home,” Peroni said in a statement released Oct. 16. “He won't work for the people of Ontario and he doesn't want anyone else to either.”
Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci released a statement the same day in which he thanks McGuinty for his work as premier, and highlights how Northern Ontario has benefited from Liberal leadership, but does not address or even mention the prorogation.
“We’ve also made tough decisions throughout the province, including the North, and the motivation has always been to create solutions that meet current and future needs as we position our region to complete in the global economy,” Bartolucci said.
“It has been my honour to have worked with a leader who has always put the interests of Ontarians first. His will be large shoes to fill and he will certainly be missed.“