The Honourable Dalton McGuinty is Ontario’s 24th Premier and Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. He was re-elected Premier for a second term on October 10, 2007. He has been a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) since 1990.
McGuinty’s political career in Ontario is long established. He has represented the riding of Ottawa—South since 1990, the same riding his father, Dalton McGuinty Sr., represented at the federal level until his death that same year. McGuinty has been Liberal Party Leader since 1996. He was lost his first provincial election in 1999, during which the governing PC Party ran a campaign that characterized him as “Just Not Up For The Job.” During the next four years, McGuinty formulated a policy platform to challenge the PC Party’s policies. His efforts paid off – he won the 2003 election and became Premier.
He is considered a moderate fiscal conservative who holds progressive views on social issues. He is focused on drawing more international investment to Ontario, and has targeted a balanced provincial budget by 2008-09. Although the McGuinty Liberals raised personal taxes in their first budget, the budget also included a plan to eliminate the province's tax on the capital of corporations in order to encourage investment.
In early 2005, McGuinty’s government passed legislation confirming the legal status of same-sex marriage in Ontario. Also that year, his government passed legislation to protect the Greenbelt, a permanently protected area of green space, farmland, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, located in the southern part of the province. The Greenbelt is considered vital to the prevention of urban development and sprawl on environmentally sensitive land.
During his first term, McGuinty faced considerable criticism for broken promises. For example, in the 2003 provincial election he campaigned on the promise of no new taxes. However, upon assuming office his government introduced a “health premium.” It was expected that his record would come back to haunt him during the 2007 provincial election, but the issue of “faith-based education” put forth by John Tory and the PC Party dominated much of the campaign. On October 10, 2007, McGuinty won his second majority government, the first Liberal Party leader to do so since the 1930s.
In its first term, the McGuinty government introduced set election dates. In his second election, Elections Ontario held a referendum on Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation. Prior to the election, McGuinty had established an Ontario Citizens’ Assembly to study the issue of electoral reform; the recommendation was a form of MMP. Support for the referendum fell far short of the 60 percent needed.
One of nine children, McGuinty was born in Ottawa, Ontario on July 19, 1955. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from McMaster University followed by a law degree from the University of Ottawa. Before entering politics, he practiced law and also taught business law at Carleton University. McGuinty and his spouse Terri have four children: Carleen, Dalton, Liam, and Connor.