On Monday night, Dalton McGuinty surprised almost everyone by announcing his resignation as premier, just 12 months after winning a minority government and a third term at Queen's Park.
On the morning after the night before, two questions remain: why did Dalton McGuinty choose now to quit and what's next for Ontario?
Rumours about McGuinty's interest in running for the federal Liberal leadership were widely dismissed on Tuesday but other theories are being floated about.
Matt Gurney of the National Post suggests that the only reason McGuinty stepped down was because of the power plant controversy which will cost taxpayers more than $230 million.
Prior to the last election. the government nixed plans to build natural gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville. The opposition parties have put forward a contempt motion in the legislature over the release of documents related to the deals suggesting that the Liberals made those decisions purely for political purposes.
"No matter what Mr. McGuinty said, and what Liberal spin doctors will say in the days to come, the truth of the matter is that Mr. McGuinty stepped down because his party's power plant shenanigans simply weren't something that could be explained away," Gurney wrote.
"Not even by someone as good at explaining things away as Mr. McGuinty."
The other issue that might have nudged McGuinty was the contentious public sector wage freeze bill that wasn't likely to pass in a minority legislature.
In his press conference on Monday, McGuinty said that proroguing the legislature would allow the government an opportunity to negotiate a wage freeze deal with unions and the opposition parties.
Essentially, adjourning the legislature buys the Liberals some time; adjourning the legislature on the same night McGuinty resigns lessens the public backlash of a prorogation. The headlines today read: "McGuinty resigns" — they don't read: "The Liberals prorogue the legislature to save their bacon."
As an added bonus for the Liberals, prorogation effectively kills the finance committee hearings into the gas plant contempt motion.
And then there's the issue of a new leader and a renewal of the Liberal Party.
In his blog, Liberal insider Warren Kinsella writes that McGuinty has left the party in good shape.
"His successor will take over an Ontario Liberal Party that is better-funded, and better-organized, than the Ontario PCs and the Ontario NDP put together," he wrote.
"We have a ton of highly-qualified candidates. And I fully expect the new leader will repeat what happened in Alberta and Manitoba — a return to the privilege of governing, with a healthy majority, too."
Who leads the party remains to be seen. In an email exchange with Yahoo! Canada News, political analyst Gerry Nicholls suggested that finance minister Dwight Duncan might be prime for the job.
Other potential candidates being reported this morning include Energy Minister Chris Bentley, health minister Deb Matthews, and Children and Youth Services Minister Erik Hoskins.
McGuinty has asked that a leadership convention be held as soon as possible.