The resignation of former premier Kathleen Wynne left the party rudderless and scrambling for leadership and direction. Now it appears it may have got both with Ottawa South MPP John Fraser being unanimously endorsed by members of the Ontario Liberal Party caucus to lead to the party on an interim basis. His endorsement came after the outgoing Liberals held their final cabinet meeting.
Fraser, has been an MPP since 2013 and was parliamentary assistant to the minister of health. In the recently concluded election, he won his riding by a convincing margin of over 5,400 votes. Former Premier Dalton McGuinty represented Ottawa South from 1990 to 2013.
The majority of Liberal ministers lost their seats in the recent provincial elections as their Progressive Conservative rivals secured a majority and the New Democratic Party gained many seats. Several, including outgoing leader Kathleen Wynne, acknowledged the challenges ahead.
One name being floated around earlier was is Don Valley East MPP, Michael Coteau one of the few Liberals to retain his seat in last week’s election.
Coteau has previously held a position as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport in 2014, and he helped to ensure a drama-free Pan Am Games. Later he was tasked with overseeing the government’s anti-racism response, just as Black Lives Matter Toronto was turning up the heat, and later appointed him Minister of Children and Youth Services. He recently added another ministry, Community and Social Services, to his bulging portfolio.
According to Couteau, the party must understand why that collapse took place, where was the disconnect between our party, our brand, and the people of Ontario? And how do we re-establish that relationship and that trust.”
Economic Development Minister Steven Del Duca, who was defeated in his suburban riding north of Toronto, said the desire for change was “visceral” while campaigning.