Ontario’s opposition leaders are urging Premier Dalton McGuinty to recall the legislature now instead of waiting until the Liberals pick a new leader to replace him.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says McGuinty’s decision to prorogue the legislature after he resigned was a huge mistake, and puts provincial politicians on a forced vacation.
Horwath says McGuinty and the Liberals want to avoid facing the music on their decision to cancel power stations in Oakville and Mississauga, costing taxpayers at least $230 million.
She says once again the Liberals made a decision to benefit themselves, and warns the legislature could be dark for months and months.
Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak has written McGuinty a letter this morning saying there must be a way to allow legislative business to carry on while the Liberals hold their leadership race.
Hudak says the rules also require a government to announce an approximate date for reconvening the legislature “before a session is prorogued,” something McGuinty has not done.
“Once again, your government and a senior minister are at odds with the rules of the legislature, which is most regrettable and embarrassing,” wrote Hudak.
McGuinty said Monday he adjourned the legislature to allow for a “cooling off period” and give the Liberals time to negotiate with unions and the opposition parties on a wage freeze for nearly 500,000 public sector workers.
“We’re going to make a sincere and determined effort to sit down with our labour partners and see if we can negotiate wage freeze agreements,” he said.
McGuinty said he will stay on until the Liberals elect a new leader, adding the timing of the recall of the legislature would have to wait until then.
“I want my successor to make that decision,” he said.
The premier said he would also stay on as the MPP for Ottawa-South until the next election, but did not rule out taking a run for the leadership of the federal Liberals.
“I am not making any plans whatsoever beyond my duties here at Queen’s Park,” McGuinty told reporters.
There’s no obvious successor to McGuinty, but names often spoken of as potential leadership candidates include Housing Minister Kathleen Wynne, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and Energy Minister Chris Bentley, who has been the focus of the opposition attacks and original contempt motion over the cancelled gas plants.