Will Ontario Liberals see a shakeup under Wynne?

Matthew Coutts
Canada Politics
Enquête publique : Kathleen Wynne pas chaude à l'idée
Avant son premier caucus mardi midi, la prochaine première ministre de l'Ontario a semblé rejeter une demande du NPD, qui veut que Kathleen Wynne lance une enquête publique sur la coûteuse annulation par son prédécesseur libéral de deux projets de centrales électriques

Kathleen Wynne is the leader the Ontario Liberal Party elected, but is she the one that party insiders had wanted?

Some signs coming out of last weekend's leadership convention suggest there are headaches ahead for the premier-designate, as some of the party's inner circle balks at its new direction.

A handful of key MPPs could be on their way out as Wynne crafts a new vision for the party, including the formation of a new inner cabal.

The Globe and Mail's Adam Radwanski breaks down a few of the Liberal insiders who are likely to bail out in the coming weeks.

On the top of that list is Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, who promised to vacate his Windsor seat if Sandra Pupatello had been named party leaders and needed to find a riding.

[ Related: Wynne should consider gas-plant inquiry: Horwath ]

A source told the Globe that Duncan will still step down for a job on Bay Street, possibly before the next election.

Also on the list of likely exits are Energy Minister Chris Bentley, who has been in the hot seat over the gas plant controversy, and Rick Bartolucci, who could retire if he is shifted to the back bench under Wynne.

And don't forget old Dalton. McGuinty may not be the party leader anymore, but he is still sitting MPP. This transition won’t be complete until he steps entirely into the shadows.

All these changes could mean trouble.

Radwanski writes:

For a party that has seen its electoral map shrink outside the Greater Toronto Area, campaigns in Mr. Bentley’s riding of London West, Mr. Bartolucci’s Sudbury constituency and even the Ottawa South seat that the McGuinty family has held since the 1980s could be challenging to hold onto.

So what is behind this apparent exodus? There was the sense going into the leadership convention that some of the previous inner circle were backing Pupatello.

The Toronto Star tallied 10 sitting MPPs who supported Wynne’s leadership, compared to 25 who backed Pupatello. The newspaper also reported that Wynne is likely to neutralize key Pupatello supporter Education Minister Laurel Broten as a “sacrificial lamb for the teachers.”

[ Related: Wynne may not be premier of Ontario for long ]

Regardless, the next inner circle will be markedly different. When Wynne names her cabinet, supporters Glen Murray, Eric Hoskins and Charles Sousa will likely be at the centre.

Beyond even that, however, there is the fact that there is no better time for a Liberal MPP to step away than during this moment of transition. A new course goes hand-in-hand with new faces, and all that.

Yahoo! Canada News’ politics reporter Andy Radia wrote this week that Wynne may not be premier for long. Considering the success that replacement leaders have had in the past, the deck could be shuffled against very soon.

Being forced to go through a full election so shortly after a leadership upheaval may just be too much to ask from some of the old guard.