Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made a surprising announcement Saturday morning, admitting that the next Ontario provincial government won’t be a Liberal one, and included a plea to voters not to hand a majority government to the Progressive Conservatives (PCs) or the New Democratic Party (NDP).
Her speech came at the tail end of a campaign that saw the Liberals trailing the pack in the polls while the NDP and PC parties faced off for first place. Wynne’s approval ratings have dragged for years however, and well ahead of the polls closing on June 7, she admitted defeat.
WATCH; Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne admits she won’t win Ontario election
Depending on whether voters heed her warning — to vote in as many Liberal MPPs as possible to avoid a PC or NDP majority — Wynne may find herself stepping down as Liberal Party Leader Friday morning.
Darrell Bricker, CEO of IPSOS Public Affairs, states that the Liberals will only be looking for a new leader if Wynne is forced out — which will likely only happen if her strategy falls on deaf ears and either the PCs or NDP indeed win a majority government.
“Her party’s assuming they’re going to get wiped. So, if it’s a minority situation, she’s prevented that. There’s got to be something in that for her,” said Bricker.
However, if it’s not a minority government, “the likelihood that she’ll stick around is pretty remote,” Bricker continued.
In the event that Wynne finds herself in this position, here are a few possible candidates experts predict might replace her;
Naqvi currently serves as the MPP the Ottawa Centre riding. He was first elected as an MPP in 2007, and was reelected in 2011 and 2014. he currently serves as Attorney General and Government House Leader, and has also held the roles of Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Naqvi’s popularity means he’ll not only likely gain re-election this coming Thursday, but he’s also a good candidate for the top position in the Liberal Party if he does.
Hoskins is a Wynne supporter and ran against her in the 2013 leadership race, where he finished dead last. He currently serves as the Chair of the Federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.
He formerly served as the Ontario Health Minister. Hoskins has long been an advocate universal healthcare and has also won an Order of Canada.
Sousa currently serves as the Minister of Finance for Ontario. He was named Minister of Finance in 2013 when Wynne officially took over as premier.
He also sits as the Vice Chair of the Treasury Board and Management of Cabinet. Roles he’s held in the past include the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan & ParaPan American Games.
Stephen Del Duca
The Minister of Transportation and Vaughan MPP was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2012 in a provincial byelection. He was re-elected in 2014 and appointed to the Minister of Transportation in Wynne’s cabinet.
Del Duca has close ties to the carpenters’ union and was a former staffer of former Liberal politician Greg Sorbara.
Hunter is the MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood and Ontario’s recently appointed Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. Previously serving as the Minister of Education and the Associate Minister of Finance, responsible for pension reform, Hunter has also secured union contract extensions with Ontario teachers through 2019.
Hunter tweeted her comments about Wynne’s announcement, calling the premier a “visionary.”
Former Industry and Trade Minister for Ontario Sandra Pupatello comes to mind when envisioning the future of the Liberal Party, as she was the runner-up to Wynne in the 2013 leadership race.
Since declining to seek re-election in 2011, Pupatello has gone on to find success in business, and is currently the president of Canadian International Avenues Ltd.
It all depends on who survives
Vice president of Ipsos Sean Simpson also notes that it may be premature to begin selecting the new leader of the Liberal Party. It’ll be important to see who is re-elected and how the party fares in the election before making predictions.
“It’s not entirely clear who might be in the running tomorrow,” said Simpson in a statement. “I suspect many will be wanting to see how tough a job it will be to rebuild the party.”