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Ontario's Premier Dad says goodbye

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is saying his final goodbyes as he relinquishes the province's top job after nine years.

Speaking to a packed house in Toronto's former Maple Leaf Gardens, McGuinty says it's been his joy and honour to serve as premier.

It was the same spot where was elected leader of the Liberals 16 years ago, despite placing fourth in the first two ballots.

McGuinty says the building has changed a lot since then, and so has the party, which is renewing itself by choosing a new leader this weekend.

He thanked the party faithful for sticking by him through the good and bad, including seven years in Opposition before they finally took office nine years ago.

McGuinty says the party turned Ontario around, working to improve schools and health care, create jobs and cleaner air.

But what they also carried a heavy price, as government spending more than doubled and the red ink began to flow.

The province now faces a $12-billion deficit, hostility from public sector unions and controversies involving cancelled gas plants and Ontario's troubled air ambulance service.

The Canadian Press


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