Kathleen Wynne will not be running for reelection in her riding of Don Valley West, the former Ontario premier announced Tuesday morning.
The revelations were made by Wynne herself on Newstalk 1010. Reflecting on her long career in politics, Wynne said that she "[thinks] that it’s time to pass the torch.”
“By the time the next election comes around I will have been in office for 22 years,” Wynne said. The former premier has been an MPP since she unseated the incumbent Progressive Conservative in Don Valley West in 2003, having already been serving as a school trustee since 2000.
After ten years as an MPP, Wynne became the premier of Ontario in 2013 following the resignation of Dalton McGuinty. McGuinty had resigned after his government spent more than $1 billion to scrap gas plant projects in order to help his party's election chances. McGuinty's former chief of staff was jailed in 2018 for deleting emails in relation to the scandal.
Wynne's premiership, however, did not manage to avoid similar accusations of corruption and incompetence which surrounded the McGuinty administration. Despite winning a majority in the 2014 election, a scandal surrounding the privatization of Hydro One and the subsequent skyrocketing of energy prices brought her approval rating down to 12 percent by 2017, the lowest ever recorded in Ontario history.
Wynne, reflecting on her premiership, told a different story, touting her raising of the minimum wage and successfully pressuring the federal government to increase the Canada Pension Plan.
Nevertheless, Wynne lead the Ontario Liberals into their most disastrous election in the province's history, going from a majority to having a mere seven seats in the Ontario Legislative Assembly, leading newly elected Premier Doug Ford to refer to them as "the minivan party." The Liberals fell one seat short of retaining official party status in the legislature.
While Wynne's party was predicted to lose, Liberal Party supporters and politicians were divided when she infamously conceded defeat for the party one week before the election. While some viewed the announcement as a foregone conclusion which allowed voters to separate her unpopularity from the party itself, others saw it as a betrayal as their own legitimacy as a genuine electoral choice became threatened.