A tearful Kathleen Wynne stepped down as Ontario’s Liberal leader Thursday night as the party she propelled to a majority government only four years ago was reduced to a skeleton crew.
VIDEO: [City News Toronto] What will happen to the Ontario Liberal party now that ‘anointed’ Doug Ford decimates it to less than official party status and their worst electoral result in over 50 years.
She told a crowd of visibly disappointed supporters that it was time for her to pass the torch to another generation.
“I know that tonight is not the result we were looking for and no one feels that more sharply than I do,” she said, “but this is not a moment where any of us should linger. We can’t stay here.
“I hope that you can feel very proud of what we have done together in the past and absolutely determined to take on the task that lies ahead.”
Wynne said her speech was meant as a thank you rather than a concession, since she already admitted last weekend that her party would lose.
But her weekend bombshell was followed by an appeal to elect as many Liberals as possible, a move she said at the time was meant to prevent either of her NDP or Progressive Conservative rivals from achieving a majority.
Party insiders have said Wynne’s call was also an 11th-hour effort to hold on to official party status — eight seats are needed to do so.
But even traditional Liberal strongholds such as Toronto Centre and Toronto-St. Paul’s fell as a hunger for change swept through the province. The party retained a pocket of three seats in the Ottawa area, Wynne’s own Toronto riding and the neighbouring one, as well as a northern seat.