Toronto

Shurman won't run for Ontario PC leadership

The race to succeed John Tory at the helm of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives lost a potential candidate on Tuesday as Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman said he was not interested in running.

The race to succeed John Tory at the helm of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives lost a potential candidate on Tuesday as Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman said he was not interested in running.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a PC caucus meeting to pick an interim leader to guide the province's Official Opposition was postponed. It is expected the party will select an interim leader by March 23.

Veteran MPP Bob Runciman, who has been acting Opposition leader in the legislature since Tory lost his seat in the 2007 election, is currently out of the country. It's not known if he'll stay on in Tory's place until a scheduled leadership convention in June.

Tory announced on Friday he would step down as leader once a successor is chosen after he lost his second consecutive attempt to get a seat in the legislature.

The final results from last week's byelection showed Liberal Rick Johnson winning the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock by 906 votes. Tory drew 41 per cent of the vote to Johnson's nearly 44 per cent.

The sprawling central Ontario riding had been held by the Conservatives since 1994, when former cabinet minister Chris Hodgson was elected.

Several names have emerged as possible leadership candidates, including MPPs Tim Hudak, Elizabeth Witmer, Frank Klees and Christine Elliott, the wife of federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Flaherty, who finished second to Tory in the 2004 provincial PC leadership race, ruled himself out of the running.

With files from the Canadian Press

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