Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty will resign his seat in the legislature, definitively ending more than two decades in provincial politics on the day his successor’s first budget was passed.
Mr. McGuinty is expected to make the announcement Wednesday, a source told The Globe and Mail. A nomination meeting for his Ottawa South constituency will be held June 20.
Since leaving the province's highest office in February, he had attended just two legislative sessions, to take part in confidence votes on the Throne Speech and the budget. He was absent from the legislature Tuesday, during the final vote on the budget bill.
But the former premier said as recently as last month that he intended to remain an MPP until the next election.
Over the last week, he was dogged by questions about political staffers whose e-mail accounts were erased. Those e-mails could have shed light on the cancellations of two gas-fired power plants.
The province's Information and Privacy Commissioner revealed that Mr. McGuinty's former chief of staff had asked for advice on permanently deleting government records.
Save for a statement denying that he had ordered e-mails erased, Mr. McGuinty did not make himself available to answer to the allegations, and took heat from the opposition for being absent from Queen's Park.
Mr. McGuinty's future plans are not yet known, but one government source said he was in talks with a number of law firms.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has six months to call a by-election to fill Mr. McGuinty’s seat, the third to become vacant this year. The ridings of former finance minister Dwight Duncan and former energy minister Chris Bentley, in London and Windsor respectively, also have to be filled.
Ms. Wynne said Tuesday she had not yet decided when to schedule the elections.
“Dalton McGuinty served Ontario with integrity throughout his years in public office. He will go down as one of our greatest Premiers,” Mr. Duncan tweeted.
A lawyer by profession, Mr. McGuinty was first elected to the legislature in 1990. He served as premier from 2003 until February of this year.
During his near-decade in office, he focused on education and environmental policy, bringing in full-day kindergarten and renewable energy plants, among other initiatives.
With a report from Karen Howlett