Dalton-less Scarborough: his legacy and what’s ahead

In times of tragedy, citizens often turn to their leaders to see what is being done about the issue. After the Scarborough block party shooting, Premier Dalton McGuinty came out and spoke with Danzig Street residents.

“He was very supportive when meeting with families. He came out and met with me and community leaders,” Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Margarett Best said. “It was very productive and we were fortunate that he was able to join us out there and really hear firsthand from the people who are out on the ground and take it back and direct it to his ministers to come up with an action plan.”

Scarborough MPPs say they will miss McGuinty’s leadership.

“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with the premier. I’m certainly grateful for his leadership as the premier of the province for the past nine years,” Best said. “He’s been a great friend and provided me with support since I’ve been MPP under his leadership.”

The question to me is who is the best person to bring us forward after three successive election victories

—Brad Duguid

Best has not made a decision about running for party leader as of yet, nor has Scarborough Centre MPP Brad Duguid.

“It’s a challenging decision. It’s one that has to be thought through and it involves more than my own thought process,” Duguid said. “The question to me is who is the best person to bring us forward after three successive election victories and a very positive legacy of transformation in the province.”

But Pickering-Scarborough East MPP Tracy MacCharles has made up her mind.

“I will not be running,” MacCharles said. “I want to focus on what I was elected to do, which is being a good member of provincial parliament for the residents of Pickering and Scarborough East.”

MacCharles said McGuinty’s resignation saddened her. Nevertheless, she said she respects how he has done his job with professionalism and integrity, particularly that he always put Ontario first.

“One of the legacies the premier will have in Scarborough was that he was very supportive from day one about the Pan Am games and having the aquatic centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough site,” she said. “I talked to the premier about it in Ottawa a few weeks ago and he said investments like that aren’t about an event, but it’s about the legacy for a community.”

Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Soo Wong said his leadership was beneficial for Ontario in various sectors.

“We have full-day kindergarten in 18 of my schools. We’ve transformed the health-care system. There’s the 30 per cent reduction in tuition fees. We put in some infrastructure work,” Wong said. “There were many firsts and many opportunities provided, not just in education but across the board.”

Wong did not want to discuss whether she would or would not be running for the Liberal leadership.

“My focus is supporting my constituents and doing what we can right now,” she said.

Meanwhile, Scarborough-Rouge River MPP Bas Balkissoon said he will not be running but hopes a new leader will be elected quickly.

“The premier made the decision. Is it good for us? That’s left for us to be seen in terms of who would be the new leader and where the new leader takes the party and the community,” Balkissoon said. “I just hope we can resolve this issue quickly.”

The Ontario Liberal Party will host their annual convention on Jan. 25, 2013, where a new leader will be elected.