Ottawa

Snobelen rides off into the sunset

Former cabinet minister John Snobelen has told the Conservative caucus he'll give up his seat in the Ontario legislature in January.

Former cabinet minister John Snobelen has told the Conservative caucus he'll give up his seat in the Ontario legislature in January.

Snobelen, a veteran of former premier Mike Harris's "common sense revolution," was seen as being at odds with the more moderate approach of Harris's successor, Ernie Eves.

As education minister, the high-school dropout became a lightning rod for discontent with the Tories when he said he'd make policy changes by "creating a crisis."

Snobelen was relegated to the government backbenches under Eves, and he appeared to take shots at the current premier in a letter of resignation released Thursday.

"Rather than mollify and appease the various stakeholders, we challenged them to face problems head on, confident that together we could invent the solutions," Snobelen wrote of his time working with Harris.

"We challenged Ontarians to reach beyond short-term fixes and find real solutions and a truly better future.

"Perhaps the demonstrated courage of Ontarians will call future governments to make the tough stands and extraordinary declarations that can truly alter the future. To do less is to sell out on the highest aspirations and the best intentions of Ontarians."

Snobelen, who represented the Mississauga West riding, came under fire this fall for his poor attendance record at the legislature.

Opposition members called for his resignation after he told a newspaper that he preferred to spend time on his Oklahoma ranch.

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