David Ramsay has added his name to the growing list of Liberal members who are bailing out of this year's provincial election in Ontario as Premier Dalton McGuinty's government seeks a third term.
Mr. Ramsay, a former cabinet minister, announced on Thursday that he is retiring from politics after serving as the MPP for the Northern Ontario riding of Timiskaming-Cochrane for 25 years.
When he completes his term in October, Mr. Ramsay will have been in public life for just over 26 years. He told The Globe and Mail that he won't miss traveling the 500 kilometres back and forth from his farm in New Liskeard in the heart of Northern Ontario mining country to Toronto.
"How much more can a guy do," he said with a chuckle.
It had been widely expected around the provincial legislature that Mr. Ramsay would not run for re-election on Oct. 6. In fact, he informed the Premier of his plans last November. Mr. Ramsay was deeply disappointed when he was dropped as natural resources minister in October, 2007, when Mr. McGuinty overhauled his cabinet after the Liberals won a second majority.
The news came just minutes after Mr. McGuinty finished a media scrum in Hamilton, so there was no opportunity for reporters to ask him questions. Mr. McGuinty was quoted in the statement issued by Mr. Ramsay's office, saying the backbencher has served families in his riding with "passion and dedication."
Mr. Ramsay is the eighth Liberal MPP to announce that he is bowing out this year's election race. Peter Fonseca resigned from cabinet last month to jump to federal politics. The former labour minister is set to be appointed the Liberal candidate to succeed retiring MP Albina Guarnieri in Mississauga East-Cooksville. Mr. Fonseca will remain an MPP until his federal appointment is official.
Mr. Ramsay and Mr. Fonseca join house leader Monique Smith, Speaker Steve Peters and backbenchers Wayne Arthurs, Jim Brownell, Bruce Crozier and Pat Hoy.
The Liberals hold 72 of the 107 seats in the provincial legislature. The Progressive Conservatives have 25 and the New Democrats, 10.
Mr. Ramsay said he would like to try his hand at helping to resolve disputes involving mining claims. He also said he and his wife, Kathy, travel every eight weeks to the Maritimes to visit their two daughters and four grandchildren.
"We'd like to spend a little more time with them," he said.