11/05/2012 04:00 EST | Updated 01/04/2013 05:12 EST

Kathleen Wynne Ontario Liberal Leadership Bid Made Official



TORONTO - Veteran Liberal cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne says she wants to be Ontario's next premier.

Wynne, who resigned from cabinet on Friday, made the announcement during a news conference in her Toronto riding of Don Valley West.

TORONTO - Former Liberal cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne will make it official today: she wants to be Ontario's next premier.

Wynne, who resigned from cabinet a few days ago, is holding a news conference to announce her bid to lead the Ontario Liberals.

The race was triggered three weeks ago when Premier Dalton McGuinty announced he would step down once a new leader was chosen, and prorogued the legislature.

McGuinty confirmed Wynne's candidacy on Friday, saying she told him she was resigning to run for the leadership.

Wynne, who served as education minister from 2006 to 2010, would make history if she won, becoming Ontario's first female and openly gay premier.

On Sunday, Glen Murray, former minister of training, colleges and universities, announced he was throwing his hat into the leadership race — one day after leaving his post.

The former-mayor of Winnipeg said he has ideas that can help lead the party into the next election.

Former cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello and ex-MP Gerard Kennedy, who lost to McGuinty by just 140 votes in 1996, are also rumoured to be seriously considering leadership bids.

While many Liberals are said to be interested in the job, few have actually stepped forward. The deadline to submit their bids is Nov. 23.

The Progressive Conservatives say it's a sign that nobody wants the job after a series of scandals over the costly cancellation of gas plants and a criminal investigation into Ontario's Ornge air ambulance service.

Prorogation brought all legislative business to a standstill and killed planned committee hearings into the cancelled power plants in Oakville and Mississauga, as well as a rare contempt motion against Energy Minister Chris Bentley.

The opposition parties have repeatedly accused McGuinty of proroguing to avoid more bad publicity over the gas plants, especially after the government dumped a second batch of documents after the premier and his ministers had insisted all relevant records had been released in September.

"From our perspective, it doesn't really matter who's going to be the leader of the Liberal party," said New Democrat Catherine Fife.

"Our focus is actually getting the province back on track, and the way to do that is to get back to work."

McGuinty insists the leadership race will be hotly contested, saying there are "lots of experienced people" who will jump in.

Wynne is "a very strong candidate" who has a wealth of experience in cabinet, with stints in education and transportation, he said.

"She brings a lot to the table," McGuinty said.

But the list of potential challengers is shrinking rapidly. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, Education Minister Laurel Broten, Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid and Bentley — who won't seek re-election — have all crossed their names off.

The Liberals will elect McGuinty's successor at a Toronto convention in late January.

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