Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid is not running for leader of the Liberal Party, becoming the third member of Premier Dalton McGuinty's cabinet to bow out of the race.
“After careful thought, I simply determined that the timing for me was just not right,” Mr. Duguid said at an impromptu news conference on Wednesday. “I felt I had a responsibility to get out of the way for the other candidates that are considering...jumping into the race or waiting to see what I’m going to do.”
So far, the race to succeed Mr. McGuinty, who announced two weeks ago that he is stepping down after 16 years as Liberal Leader, is all about who is not running. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and Energy Minister Chris Bentley have both announced that they plan to follow Mr. McGuinty out the door and not run in the next election.
Former cabinet minister George Smitherman, who left Queen’s Park to make an unsuccessful run for mayor of Toronto, also announced that he is not in the running.
“Clearly, no one wants the job,” said Progressive Conservative MPP Jim Wilson.
“The only real news coming out of the Ontario Liberal leadership race is that no one is running,” added New Democratic Party MPP Peter Tabuns.
The lone individual who has come closest to acknowledging that she is in fact interested in the job is Sandra Pupatello, a former cabinet minister who is now director of business and global markets at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto.
The Liberal Party will choose a new leader on the weekend of Jan. 25. Ms. Pupatello said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail on Wednesday that she is still considering running.
Unlike his two cabinet colleagues who have also declared they are not interested in becoming party leader, Mr. Duguid does plan to seek re-election in his Toronto riding of Scarborough Centre.
Mr. Duguid cited family reasons for not running for leader, but added his own twist. As the father of two teenagers, he joked, “I can’t say they are begging to spend more time with dad.”
However, he added, his children are in their formative years and he said it is important for him to be around when and if they need him.