By-elections could be coming up soon, says Queen’s Park correspondent Christina Blizzard
Liberal MPPs heading for the exits?
May 25, 2016
Christina Blizzard, PostMedia
TORONTO – Like a Saturday night sot, the Liberal government is lurching wildly towards the legislature’s summer break.
It’s increasingly clear that Kathleen Wynne needs to give sober second thought as to where her party’s heading.
Her government ricochets from crisis to crisis. One moment, they seem bumbling and inept; the next, they’re caught in scandal.
Revelations of questionable practices emerge weekly: Millions of dollars in payments to powerful teacher unions; an alleged overpayment of $1.5 billion to Samsung in its blockbuster green energy deal.
At the same time, we see the hamfisted manhandling of the family of an autistic child cut off from Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) therapy. Unbelievably, Mississauga-Streetsville MPP Bob Delaney called the cops when mom Melanie Palaypayon said she would hand out pamphlets outside his office to protest her son being dumped from the waiting list for therapy.
Delaney’s initial lame attempt at an apology was not delivered personally — just distributed to media, presumably to shut us up, and posted on a website.
Not exactly heartfelt.
As summer looms, Wynne faces at least one byelection — and possibly as many as six.
Sometime over the summer, the premier will have to call a byelection to replace Bas Balkissoon in Scarborough-Rouge River.
There are rumblings other Liberal MPPs may be heading for the exits.
Long-time York Centre MPP Monte Kwinter has been ailing recently, as has Ajax-Pickering’s Joe Dickson. Both those ridings would be tough fights for the Liberals. As well, there’s speculation well-liked veteran Mario Sergio, Wynne’s minister with responsibility for seniors, could move on.
Another intriguing rumour says Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur is ready to call it quits, opening up her Ottawa-Vanier riding.
And you have to wonder if Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli will stick around much longer. He has come under fire numerous times since the 2014 election. The message you get from him is that he’s disgruntled with his own government.
It’s almost certain he won’t return to cabinet in the shuffle that’s expected after the legislature rises for the summer break. The question is will he remain as a backbencher or will he quit and trigger a byelection in Ottawa West-Nepean?
Not that it makes much difference. Even if the Liberals lost all six seats — which is unlikely — they’d still have a majority government.
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