3 Ontario Liberals, including 2 cabinet ministers, won't seek re-election

Three Ontario Liberals, including two cabinet ministers from the Greater Toronto Area, announced on Thursday that they will not seek re-election in June.

Tracy MacCharles, Michael Chan, Grant Crack all say they won't run again

Michael Chan, MPP for Markham-Unionville, and Tracy MacCharles, MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East, both cabinet ministers, said they will not run in the June 7 provincial election. (Canadian Press)

Three Ontario Liberals, including two cabinet ministers from the Greater Toronto Area, announced on Thursday that they will not seek re-election in June.

Tracy MacCharles, MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East, Michael Chan, MPP for Markham-Unionville, and Grant Crack, MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, all issued statements saying they will not run in the June 7 provincial election.

The three MPPs, all longtime Liberals, are just latest to drop out of the race, joining high-profile names like Eric Hoskins, Brad Duguid, Deb Matthews and Liz Sandals. According to the polls, the Liberals are trailing the Ontario Progressive Conservatives by a large margin with just months to go until election day.

MacCharles, Chan cite health issues

MacCharles and Chan say health issues played a role in their decision not to seek another term.

MacCharles, minister of government and consumer services, said she has been facing "health challenges" in the past year.

"I have come to the realization that I would not be able to bring the full energy and drive to this campaign that my constituents deserve from their candidates and representatives," she said.

"This is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make but I have concluded that this is what is best for my constituents, my health and my family."

Chan, minister of international trade, said he wants to focus on "health concerns" that recently developed and it is time for "personal change" in his life.

"My political career has been an unparalleled experience — a chance to contribute to shaping the future, to meet so many wonderful Ontarians, to promote the vibrancy and beauty of our province to the world, and to appreciate first-hand the democratic institution that is a treasured foundation of our society," he said.

"It has been a journey shared by so many to whom I owe my heartfelt gratitude." 

Crack to seek other career opportunities

For his part, Crack, who has been in provincial politics for seven years and served as parliamentary assistant to the agriculture minister, said he plans to seek other career opportunities. He said he is confident that his seat would remain in Liberal hands.

 
Liberal MPP Grant Crack, who represents the area of Prescott-Glengarry-Russell, was the government's representative at Saturday's community meeting. (CBC)

"This was a very difficult decision," Crack said. "During this time I have developed numerous relationships with political colleagues, community stakeholders and established friendships of which I am grateful and will miss on a day to day basis."

Wynne says she will 'miss them all'

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, speaking at a news conference in Toronto, thanked all three MPPs for their years of public service.

"For all three, for Tracy and Michael and Grant, these were very difficult decisions," Wynne said. "And up until a short time ago, they all three had intended to run," she said.

Wynne added that Crack, in particular, has served the public for many years. Crack was mayor of Alexandria and mayor of North Glengarry.

"I wish them all well," she said. "I am going to miss them all very much."

In a statement on Thursday, Wynne said: "All three members of my team have my full support and my gratitude for the contributions they have made in their collective dozens of years working for the people of Ontario."

With files from The Canadian Press, Lauren Pelley