News, Politics

Dalton McGuinty’s Sudden And Shocking Retirement As Ontario’s Premier

Dalton McGuinty
Dalton McGuinty in Toronto, 2007. Image: Sherurcij

On Monday night, the Premier of Ontario did something surprising. He quit his job.

It was shocking, because most people didn’t see it coming.

Dalton McGuinty has been the Premier for nine years. He is also the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, a position he has held for 16 years.

At the same time as he resigned, he also “prorogued” the legislature. That means he stopped all business taking place in the Ontario House of Commons. Most of the work MPPs were working on has been postponed until a new session is called.

No one knows exactly why McGuinty quit, and so suddenly.

Some people say he intends to run for leader of the federal Liberal party—in other words, take over the national Liberals so he can run for Prime Minister in the future.

Other people say he quit because his provincial government is in the middle of many difficulties including contract negotiations with some unions. They have also been accused of misspending government money in the case of an air ambulance service called Ornge. The government of Ontario is also under fire for closing down some gas plants.

Still other people say McGuinty stepped down because he is frustrated at not being able to get legislation passed, because of his minority government.

By shutting down the legislature, McGuinty may be hoping that people in the province will forget about the difficulties plaguing the Ontario Liberals. By the time the provincial government is back up and running, with a new leader in place, things may look a little brighter for the Liberals.

In his resignation speech, McGuinty said his party has made “huge progress… in every area that matters most to families.”

“We’ve gone from struggling schools to the best schools in the English-speaking world… From Canada’s longest healthcare wait times, to the shortest… from dirty air to clean air… and the toughest drinking water standards anywhere,” he said.

In that speech he said that he is trying to impose a two-year freeze on wages for government workers, but hasn’t been able to do it because of his minority government. He said that having a prorogation will allow all of the parties to work together, with the unions for the workers, to figure out another solution. He called it, “going back to the drawing board.” He said the porogue will let those discussions happen “in an atmosphere that is free of the heightened rancour of politics in the legislature.”

The Ontario Liberals will decide who will replace McGuinty and become the province’s next premier at a “convention.” Until the convention happens, McGuinty will remain as Pemier and leader of the Ontario Liberals.

Some facts from this CBC article were used in today’s TKN story.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
There is a lot of speculation as to why Dalton McGuinty suddenly quit. So far, he hasn’t provided a clear answer.

Do you think he owes the public an explanation? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Elements of Style
In order to convey how surprising McGuinty’s departure was, the writer of this article used the phrase, “Most people didn’t see it coming.”
She might also have said, “It came from out the blue.” Or, “It took everyone by surprise.”

What other phrases could she have used to convey the same surprising message?

Identify various elements of style – including word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Identify various elements of style – including foreshadowing, metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness of texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Grammar Feature: Synonyms
A synonym is a word that looks and sounds different from another word, but it basically has the same meaning. When journalists craft an article, they carefully choose words that are interesting and meaningful.

Look at the words below from the article and think of a synonym for each.
1. surprising
2. shocking
3. leader
4. cancelled
5. quit
6. difficulties
7. frustrated
8. hoping