Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault confirmed Wednesday he's running for reelection next year, amid rumours several of his colleagues aren't, and talk of pressure on Premier Kathleen Wynne to resign.
"I fully intend on standing and running in the next election,” Glenn Thibeault said. “I just have to find some time -- being minister of energy keeps me pretty busy -- to find a nomination date."
According to a recent Toronto Star article, more than a dozen MPPs are considering not running in the June 2018 election, with the party at historic lows in opinion polls, trailing both Andrea Horwath's NDP and a resurgent Tory party under Patrick Brown, whose party is in majority territory.
In response, Wynne told The Star on Wednesday she is definitely staying on as premier for the next vote.
“I’ve made a decision, with the support of my caucus, to go into the next election,” Wynne told reporters. “I understand that there is a political story around personal popularity, but that’s actually beside the point for me ... The point for me is to do the work that I was elected to do with the support of my colleagues.”
Thibeault, who crossed party lines in 2015 to leave the NDP and run for the Liberals, said Wynne has his full support.
"I think that's a great decision,” he said. “I've always said, don't underestimate the premier. She's a very progressive woman with some great ideas.
"In my 2 1/2 years with her and with the party, there has been a lot of heavy lifting done. A lot of work has gone into making sure we have pensions, that we've addressed the electricity issue. There's so many thinks that we've been doing. Her leadership is important and I fully support her."
With the party so low in the polls, Thibeault said it's easy to forget that the province's economy is strong and that the budget is balanced.
"There's lots of positives that are happening that we need to start talking about,” he said. “Even, for example, when I talk about energy, we don't about the fact we haven't had a smog day in three years. Our air pollution hospitalizations are down by 41 per cent, deaths are down 23 per cent.
"So there's always ways to turn things around. I'm not saying it's not going to be a tough battle. I think every election is always going to be tough because you have to put on display what you're going to do. But we haven't talked about shutting down coal and all of these great things that we've done. It's time for the government to be a little more out there in terms of what we've been doing to make life better for Ontarians."
Wynne was counted out in 2014, too, and won a majority government. Thibeault said he believes she can do it again.
"In terms of her leadership and her skill, never underestimate the premier."