Ontario Liberals just got weaker

Long-time Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Gerry Phillips has declared he is leaving his position — for good.

Just before a federal election campaign was announced in Ottawa, Phillips decided to leave the political stage.

Coincidence? Hard to say.

In his 24 years of service, it seems he has done his best at serving Ontarians. He was part of the push to build a Veterans’ Memorial on the of Queen’s Park. He helped get new power transmission lines constructed all over the city.

Phillips was dogged in appealing for an inquiry into the 1995 shooting death of native protestor Dudley George at Ipperwash Provincial Park. After years of pushing, the Ontario government finally conducted a public inquiry in 2003 into the man’s death.

The MPP has earned a reputation for being committed to public service and responsible in his duties to represent the needs of the common Ontarian.

Being a close associate of Premier Dalton McGuinty, the two have worked closely in past years. It’s even been said that McGuinty calls Phillips up whenever a tough situation arises.

With Phillips retiring, the premier and his party are losing an important general ahead of the looming Oct. 6 provincial election fight.

And Phillips’ departure isn’t the only one. He’s just one of 10 current Liberal MPPs who will not run in the fall campaign.

Among the departing Liberals, Phillips is one of the most qualified politicians.

Could it be the more experienced Liberals are leaving ahead of what they see as uphill fight? Are they leaving before it’s too late?

Best of luck to the Liberals. What was going to be a lengthy and demanding battle just got that much more demanding with the loss of one of the party’s most capable and competent leaders.

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