Does Dalton McGuinty have his eyes on the federal Liberal leadership?

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

It sounds a little speculative, but a Toronto Sun writer is suggesting Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has his eyes on the federal Liberal leadership.

In her column Tuesday, journalist Christina Blizzard bases her hypothesis on the fact that many high-profile Liberals showed up at McGuinty's address to the Economic Club of Canada earlier this week.

"The big question is why did a who's who of Liberals — federal and provincial — show up," she asks?

"Federal interim Liberal leader Bob Rae was there… Liberal warhorse John Turner showed up, as did former rat packer Sheila Copps."

On Wednesday, McGuinty told reporters he's always rejected notions of running federally in the past, and he has not changed his mind, the Canadian Press reported.

He joked with reporters that he "wants to remain married."

Nevertheless, Dalton McGuinty as the head of the federal party makes a lot of sense.

"The federal Liberals are in disarray. They've become irrelevant and risk extinction if they can't get their act together," Blizzard writes.

"They need a leader with profile, credibility and personality. McGuinty is all of that. The last election showed he may be unpopular — but he can still win this province.

"More importantly, he's the only guy with experience in government who has the faintest chance of restoring the party's fortunes federally."

To date, no one has declared their intention to run for the Liberal leadership which is to be decided some time in 2013.

MPs Marc Garneau and Denis Coderre are two names that are often bandied about as potential leadership candidates as is Gerard Kennedy who was defeated in the last federal election.

Justin Trudeau claims he's not interested in the job - at least not at this point in his life.

And then there's interim leader Bob Rae who, despite promising the party he would not seek the permanent leadership, remains coy about his future intentions.

2013 is a long way off - potential leaders will emerge, some will lose interest, while others may even change their minds.

Whatever the case, Dalton McGuinty deserves to be part of the discussion.