NOBODY but nobody among Winnipeg city councillors is surprised former mayor Glen Murray has thrown his hat in the ring for the Ontario Liberal leadership.
"When I heard the news that Dalton McGuinty was resigning (as leader of the Ontario Liberals and Ontario premier), the first thought that came to my mind was, 'When is Glen going to announce his leadership bid?' " said Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt.
Coun. Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) did Wyatt one better.
"I would have predicted that, knowing Glen," said Smith. "In fact, I thought, when he became a cabinet minister (in McGuinty's government), I thought of writing a letter to the premier saying 'Watch out, he's after your job.' "
Murray announced his candidacy over the weekend. The leadership convention is scheduled for late January.
Wyatt said it's fun to watch Murray's post-Winnipeg career. "Glen does not hesitate to roll up his sleeves and go into something to take on a challenge," said Wyatt.
"There were times I'm sure he wished I wasn't at city hall and there were times I wished he wasn't at city hall. But, looking back, he left a positive mark on the city."
Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), who was deputy mayor under Murray, thinks Murray has the tools for the job. "He was pretty dynamic; a lot of creative ideas, a lot of energy, a lot of thinking outside the box," said Vandal.
However, he wondered whether Murray, 55, has been on the Ontario political scene long enough to have a serious chance at winning. If not, a run might set him up as a name candidate the next time the mayor's job of a major Ontario city is contested, such as in Toronto, Vandal said.
Wyatt wouldn't underestimate Murray's chances of winning Ontario. "A lot of folks wrote him off and said he'd never become mayor of Winnipeg and he proved them wrong," said Wyatt. "He's a big-ideas man."