Ontario Liberal Party leadership election, 1996
|Date||December 1, 1996|
|Convention||Maple Leaf Gardens,
|Resigning leader||Lyn McLeod|
|Won by||Dalton McGuinty|
The Ontario Liberal Party leadership election, 1996, held on December 1, 1996 elected Dalton McGuinty as the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, replacing Lyn McLeod, who announced her resignation on August, 1996. McGuinty lost the 1999 election but won in 2003 and served as Premier for ten years until 2013.
Liberal party policy allowed for 2,400 delegates to be selected by local riding associations. These delegates were committed to vote for a particular candidate on the first ballot but could change their mind on subsequent ballots depending on candidate 'wheeling and dealing'. There were also 500 ex-officio delegates made up of party insiders who were not committed to voting for any candidate.
The leadership convention was held to replace Lyn McLeod who resigned after leading the Liberals to defeat in the 1995 election campaign. Seven candidates entered the race, six caucus members and one outside candidate. They were John Gerretsen, Dwight Duncan, Dalton McGuinty, Anna-Marie Castrilli, Joseph Cordiano, Gerrard Kennedy and Greg Kells an Ottawa area businessman.
Kennedy quickly attained front runner status in the race. Although he was recently elected in a by-election he gained notoriety as head of the Daily Bread Food Bank. He was known for criticising the NDP's food policy yet coming up with practical methods to combat hunger. Duncan, Cordiano and McGuinty all elicited strong initial delegate support. Gerretsen, Castrilli and Kells were clearly longshot candidates.
After the 5th ballot McGuinty was declared the winner. Seen as a more right-leaning candidate, critics argued that he was little more than 'Harris-lite'. Supporters countered that election of the Mike Harris government marked a transformation of thinking in Ontario politics and that the Liberals needed a right-leaning leader to compete against Harris rather than someone who would compete against NDP for a diminishing number of left leaning voters.
- = Eliminated from next round
- = Withdrew nomination
- = Winner
|Candidate||1st Ballot (7:31pm)||2nd Ballot (10:25pm)[A]||3rd Ballot (12:39am)||4th Ballot (2:35am)||5th Ballot (4:25am)|
|Joseph Cordiano||557||21.8||570||22.7||601||23.9||696||28.8||Supported McGuinty|
|Dwight Duncan||464||18.1||474||18.9||509||20.3||Supported Kennedy|
|John Gerretsen||152||6.0||124||5.0||Supported McGuinty|
|Anna-Marie Castrilli||141||5.5||122||4.9||Supported McGuinty|
|Greg Kells||24||0.9||Released delegates|
|Votes cast by ballot|
- A Castrilli initially withdrew from the 2nd ballot but subsequently returned, causing a delay in voting
- "New Liberal chief vows to get party moving". Toronto Star. 2 December 1996.
- David Mutimer, ed. (2002). Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs (1996). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 120–1.