Flanked by his family, Premier Dalton McGuinty put a brave face on what was a disappointing night for the Ontario Liberal party. Though he kept his grip on power, the McGuinty Liberals lost 17 seats and were held to a razor-thin minority government, elected with 53 seats, one shy of the 54 seats needed for a majority.
Met by loud chants of “Dalton” from his Ottawa constituents, McGuinty lauded the “Ontario way” as one to emulate.
“The Ontario way is not about cutting people loose in difficult times,” said McGuinty. “It’s about working together… it’s about turning challenges into opportunities… it’s about believing in, trusting in and investing in our people… it’s about building a bright future with positive ideas, enthusiasm and hope.”
The premier had kind, but brief words for his rivals, praising their efforts.
“I congratulate Andrea Horwath and Tim Hudak and their families for standing up for what they believe in and fighting hard in this campaign,” said McGuinty.
After thanking his wife Terri and family and singling out the efforts of party members Greg Sorbara and Don Guy, McGuinty’s sounded a conciliatory tone as he acknowledged his party’s failure to achieve a third-consecutive majority government.
“It’s important that we be sober-minded about the message that Ontarians have given to us tonight,” said the premier. “We have placed our trust in you, but we expect you to work harder… we demand that you lead because we are Ontario and that’s what we do: we lead.”
McGuinty vowed to keep working towards the future, but not before declaring: “Liberalism, in this great country, is alive and well and living in Ontario.”