Thursday, 25 October 2012

Dwight Duncan To Retire

Earlier I had written on the impact of Premier Dalton McGuinty's resignation on the auto insurance system.  At the time I had speculated, as had others, that Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan would be running for Liberal leadership.

McGuinty had informed his Cabinet that ministers planning to run for leader would have to resign from Cabinet.  I can tell you from experience that this was a wise decision.  Back in 2002, when Mike Harris stepped down as premier of Ontario he did not ask his ministers to resign if there were running to replace him.  As a result Cabinet dissolved into competing factions and was pretty dysfunctional for a while.  I had an opportunity to observe this first hand when appearing before a Cabinet committee I witnessed a war break out over a minor regulation change being brought to the committee by the minister who was a leadership candidate where the committee chair was also leadership candidate.

My earlier post had suggested that with Minister Duncan resigning to run for leader, there would be little happening on the auto insurance file for some time.  Now that he appears to be staying in Cabinet there will be some opportunities over the next few months to move some auto insurance issues forward.  There will be no legislative changes with the legislature having been prorogued, but they may be opportunities to make some regulatory changes since Cabinet will continue to meet.

This window will be small with a leadership vote over the weekend of January 25th.  Shortly after the new premier will likely be appointing a new Cabinet before calling an election.  Since Minister Duncan has announced he will not be running for re-election, he will certainly be replaced shortly after the Liberal leadership convention.

So during this small window, if the outgoing minister still wants to make changes to the UDAP regulations or the definition of catastrophic impairment, it is possible.  In addition, since he is leaving office he may be may more willing to introduce changes that might be more contentious. 

So this change in events creates a different set of opportunities and possibilities, so stay tuned.  It could get interesting.

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