Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan to resign next week

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Ontario's finance minister Dwight Duncan is making good on his promise and is retiring from provincial politics.

Duncan made the announcement via his Twitter account on Thursday morning.

Duncan has been an MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh since 1995 and Ontario's finance minister since 2005. His departure from Queens Park isn't a surprise. Just days after Dalton McGuinty announced his intentions to resign in October, Duncan did the same.

McGuinty also took to Twitter this morning to congratualate his long-time colleague:

[ Related: Ontario Tories launch another attack ad at Kathleen Wynne ]

The legacies of both McGuinty and Duncan are forever intertwined. It's a legacy, however, that is mixed at best.

Duncan outlined some of his party's fiscal accomplishments in a recent tribute to McGuinty at the Canadian Club.

"I need to remind you that our government balanced three budgets in a row before the downturn. We did it in '06, we did it in '07, and we did in '08. Fact, fact, fact.

[McGuinty] also led Ontario through the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression.

He and his government made the choices that helped Ontario families through that downturn by keeping people working in the public and broader public sectors when jobs were being lost day-in and day-out in the private sector. And yes, with record investments in infrastructure. And coming from Windsor, but in fact coming from anywhere in Ontario, his decision to assist in ensuring that Chrysler and General Motors survived and maintain operations here and across the province was instrumental.

Finally, he reformed our tax system, creating the HST, cut corporate taxes by $8 billion, personal taxes by $12 billion, and took Ontario's marginal effective tax rate on new investment from the highest in North America to one of the lowest."

But critics argue that McGuinty and Duncan are leaving behind a big mess: the province has the worst debt-to-GDP Ratio in the country and the second highest per-capita debt burden. Last week the Fraser Institute reported that Ontario even has a higher debt-load than the much-maligned State of California.

[ Related: Former Ontario air ambulance chief accused of charging taxpayers for lavish ski trips ]

What's next for Duncan; for the Ontario Liberals?

According to the Globe and Mail, Duncan is set to join Bay Street law firm McMillan LLP as a 'Senior Advisor.'

With regard to politics, Duncan told the Windsor Star, on Wednesday, that he will continue to help his friend Justin Trudeau with his bid to win the federal Liberal leadership. He also notes that he may, one day, choose to run for the federal party.

"I’ve left the door open to a federal run down the road," he said.

"I don’t know that I will ever go through that door, but the door is open."

As for the provinical Liberal government, they'll need to call a by-election for Duncan's Windsor-Tecumseh seat before August. On his website, Liberal insider Warren Kinsella wrote that it will be "very very hard" from the Grits to keep that seat.

Meanwhile, CBC News notes that "some analysts believe more Liberal [MPPs] will resign in the next few weeks."

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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