MPP Michael Gravelle (Lib., Thunder Bay - Superior North)
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Michael Gravelle isn’t ruling out a run at the Ontario Liberal leadership.
The Minister of Natural Resources on Wednesday said the idea has been broached with him by people looking for a regional voice in the upcoming contest, brought on this week when Premier Dalton McGuinty announced he was stepping down after 16 years at the party helm.
“I haven’t honestly given it a great deal of thought,” Gravelle said. “There certainly are those who have indicated there should be a Northern candidate to have that voice. It’s still less than 48 hours since the premier made that announcement, so I’m not dismissing those thoughts. I just haven’t put my head around it yet.”
With the legislature prorogued, a move Gravelle said he supports as the province continues to work toward striking a labour deal with public school teachers, the Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP said he wants to focus on work on riding issues.
He’s also not sure he wants to give up his seat at cabinet to take a run at the premier’s chair.
“If a minister decides to become a leadership candidate they have to resign from cabinet, so that’s a factor in terms of a decision being made by anyone. All I can say, and very clearly, that it’s going to be crucial that whoever is the next leader of the party, and therefore the next premier of the province, not just understands, but is a strong advocate for Northern Ontario’s interests.
Gravelle called the region a very unique part of the province, one that is setting itself up to be part of Ontario’s economic backbone in the coming years.
“I want to see that that is an absolute priority for them or whoever will be the next leader.”
Speculation is running rampant about who will join the race, with the National Post suggesting Energy Minister Chris Bentley, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and Health Minister Deb Matthews as three of the frontrunners. Also on their list are Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne, former Education Minister Sandra Pupatello, former leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy and ex-deputy premier George Smitherman.
Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro on Monday said it was too soon to be thinking about whether or not he might throw his name into the ring.
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