Hoskins officially enters Ontario Liberal leadership race

Eric Hoskins is the latest former cabinet minister who's running to succeed Dalton McGuinty as leader of the Ontario Liberals.

Field of candidates grows to six

St. Paul's MPP Eric Hoskins has become the sixth person to launch a campaign to become the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. (File photo/CBC)

Eric Hoskins is the latest former cabinet minister who's entered the race to succeed Dalton McGuinty as leader of the Ontario Liberals.

Hoskins resigned as minister of children and youth services last week — a prerequisite set by McGuinty for making a leadership bid. Hoskins joins Gerard Kennedy, Sandra Pupatello, Charles Sousa, Glen Murray and Kathleen Wynne in the leadership race that's to be decided in late January.

Hoskins, who represents the Toronto riding of St. Paul's, is perhaps more well-known outside political circles as a celebrated humanitarian who started War Child Canada with his wife, Dr. Samatha Nutt. They have a seven-year-old son, Rhys.

The Oxford-educated Rhodes scholar is an Officer of the Order of Canada and received the United Nations Lester B. Pearson Peace Medal as well as the Governor General's Meritorious Service Cross.

Hoskins was first elected in a 2009 byelection that was triggered when former cabinet minister Michael Bryant left politics, and was soon elevated to cabinet as minister of citizenship and immigration.

In announcing his candidacy on Tuesday, Hoskins admitted he is relatively new to politics, but said he will bring a fresh perspective to the race.

"I believe a new kind of politics is possible," he told an audience of supporters. "I’m not new to promoting economic development in uncertain climates and uncertain times."

Legislature was getting 'uncomfortable'

Answering questions from reporters after he announced his leadership bid, Hoskins was asked how comfortable he was with McGuinty’s decision to prorogue the legislature.

"Look, that was a decision that the premier made. It no doubt was a very difficult decision for him," Hoskins said.

"I can tell you, you know, as somebody who has worked in war zones around the world, that it was getting to be a very uncomfortable place, the legislature."

Asked to expand on his comparison of the legislature to a war zone, Hoskins said he was uncomfortable with some of the interactions between members.

"It takes a lot to rattle me, let me say that, in terms of what I’ve done. As a doctor, working overseas, I’ve been in some very interesting circumstances," Hoskins said.

"So what I’m saying is that … I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the level of discourse that was taking place, some of the very personal verbal attacks going on."

McGuinty has said that it will be up to his successor to choose when to recall the legislature.

Hoskins said he looks forward "to prorogation ending as soon as possible," once the new leader is chosen.

Potential Liberal leaders have until Nov. 23 to launch their bids and sign up new members who will vote for delegates to be sent to the Toronto convention.

With files from CBC News