Windsor politicians say McGuinty resignation a surprise

Windsor's politicians are weighing in on Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty's surprise resignation Monday.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty delivers a speech to the Ontario Liberal annual general meeting in Ottawa on Sept. 29. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Windsor’s politicians are weighing in on Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty’s surprise resignation Monday.

Mayor Eddie Francis said he got the news just as council was sitting down for it’s scheduled meeting.

"My reaction was a reaction of surprise, because like most, I don't think anyone was expecting this today," Francis said.

The mayor was quick to point out McGuinty’s record in approving infrastructure projects in the city, such as the casino expansion, the convention centre, the downtown aquatic centre and the Windsor-Essex Parkway Project.

"I think that we have to recognize that Premier McGuinty has been a very good friend to the city of Windsor," he said. "He supported major investments and infrastructure projects in the city at a time when we were significantly challenged as a result of the economy."

McGuinty said he had asked the Liberal Party president to call a leadership convention "at the earliest possible opportunity," but that he would stay on as premier until the party chooses a new leader.

Teresa Piruzza, MPP for Windsor-West, said  the Ontario Liberal party executive council will meet over the next several days to figure out the process for choosing a new leader.

"The timeframe they're working on is to have this completed by February or March of next year," she said.

Accompanying the unexpected resignation was McGuinty's announcement that he had asked the lieutenant-governor to prorogue the legislature to give the government the opportunity to work on reaching wage-freeze agreements with public-sector workers.

Piruzza said she expects the prorogue will be in place until the new year.

Lydia Miljan, professor of political science at the University of Windsor, said McGuinty’s move casts a shadow over the Liberal party.

"Certainly the losers are the Liberal party," she said. "It looks bad. It just asks a lot of questions and I wonder whether they are running away from particular bad decisions or there's some huge announcement that's going to come up."

McGuinty served as the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party for 16 years and nine years as premier.