Gerard Kennedy announces Ontario Liberal leadership bid

Five now in the running to replace Dalton McGuinty

Gerard Kennedy is the latest candidate to announce his intentions to run for leader of the Ontario Liberal party after Premier Dalton McGuinty’s surprise announcement that he would step down as leader last month.

Kennedy made his bid official on Toronto television station CP24 Monday morning.

“I’ll be trying to gain the confidence of Ontarians who want to see a better government, who are tried of the bickering and the hyper-partisanship,” he told CP24.

Kennedy was Ontario cabinet before he left to pursue federal politics, making a failed attempt at the federal Liberal leadership in 2006. He came in fourth in the race, which was won by Stephen Dion.

The former education minister is already distancing himself from controversial education legislation introduced by McGuinty, which has prompted high school teachers to take job action beginning Monday morning.

Kennedy’s announcement comes just days after a poll released by Forum Research showed that he would be the leading candidate to replace McGuinty. Though, the accuracy of that poll could be questioned, since the new Liberal leader will be voted in by party members, not by the general public.

Kennedy joins a growing list of candidates, including former cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello, former Winnipeg mayor and minister of training, colleges and universities Glen Murray, former minister of citizenship and immigration Charles Sousa and former minister of municipal affairs and housing Kathleen Wynne. Former children and youth services minister Eric Hoskins is expected to announce his leadership intentions on Tuesday.