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Former mayor withdraws from Ontario Liberal leadership race

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OTTAWA – Former Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray will not become the next premier of Ontario.

Murray withdrew from the Ontario Liberal leadership race this morning, and threw his support behind MPP Kathleen Wynne.

"I think the best chance for the renewal I want to see in Ontario and in the party, and the person who is better able to get us there than I am, is my friend Kathleen Wynne," Murray said at a news conference. "And because I believe that renewal is more important than anything else, and because I simply believe she is the best person to be premier of Ontario, she has my full and unqualified support."

Murray, 55, was the first official candidate in the race to replace outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty. He stepped down as the minister of of training, colleges and universities to run in early November.

However, in a recent count of delegates made public, Murray was second to last in the race, ahead of fellow Liberal MPP Harinder Takhar by just five delegates.

The next Ontario Liberal leader will be selected Jan. 26 in Toronto.

Murray was the first openly gay man to become mayor of a major Canadian city. He held the post in Winnipeg from 1998 until 2004. Before that, he was a city councillor for the Fort Rouge ward for nine years. He left the mayor’s office in 2004 to run federally for the Liberals in Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia. He lost narrowly to Conservative Steven Fletcher.

Shortly after that, Murray left Winnipeg and moved to Toronto. He worked as a senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College and wrote an urban affairs column for the Toronto Star at first. For a time he led the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.

In 2010, he ran in a byelection in the ultra-urban Toronto Centre riding and won the seat as a Liberal. He was appointed to cabinet a few months later, first as minister of research and innovation, and most recently as minister of training, universities and colleges.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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