Amid nail-biting speculation over candidates in the next provincial election, Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters Wednesday that she will run again, despite growing concerns over her unpopularity.
Her promise comes after a Toronto Star article cited growing concerns among politicians about her future within the Liberal party. The report revealed that more than a dozen MPPs won’t be running for another term next year over fears of losing their seats due to Wynne’s low approval ratings.
Deputy Premier Deb Matthews tells AM980 that the Liberal caucus stands firmly behind Wynne’s decision to look toward another term.
“We have… a strong relationship with her. She’s done a terrific job keeping caucus engaged in our agenda,” said Matthews. “I’m biased, I get to work with her every day. She’s driven by her values and her values are clear – she wants to make life better for people in Ontario.”
Jason Lietaer, political commentator and president of Enterprise Canada, said the Liberals fear they won’t be re-elected under Wynne’s wing.
“There’s a concern by some from the Liberal party to get her out,” said Lietaer. “Essentially they’re looking around and thinking we’re not going to be re-elected with this premier at the helm and they’re trying to make a change.”
Wynne has been highly criticized over the decision to privatize Hydro One as well as skyrocketing hydro rates, which has hit many Ontarians hard. However, the Liberals announced a plan to slash electricity rates by 25 per cent this year by repaying Hydro One’s debt over a longer period.
Lietaer said the leaders of the two main opposition parties, the NDP’s Andrea Horwath and the PC’s Patrick Brown, may not be in a position to unseat Wynne and the Liberals.
“The truth is, there’s no good decision. Kathleen Wynne is an experienced campaigner. She’s got her baggage for sure, but the truth is she might be the only person that can win that election.”
And the deputy premier is echoing that sentiment. “Oh, I know she will,” said Matthews to AM980, about Wynne’s chances of winning again.
Ontario’s next election is set for June 7, 2018.