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Klees not running for Ont. Speaker

Frank Klees, the Progressive-Conservative MPP for Newmarket-Aurora, announced Friday he would not be running for Speaker.

The Tory MPP’s bid, if successful, would have given the Liberals a virtual majority at Queen’s Park. If he were to win, Klees would give up his seat, and the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP together would have the same number of seats as the Liberals – 53.

The Speaker generally votes with the government during key debates, which would give the Liberals 54 votes.

Earlier this week, PC Leader Tim Hudak, who beat Klees in the 2009 Tory leadership race, says the MPP turned down two key critic portfolios offered to him.

Hudak released the following statement Friday:

“Earlier today Frank Klees informed me that he was withdrawing from the race for Speaker of the Legislature.  Frank Klees will now serve as the Ontario PC Critic for Transportation and Infrastructure.  Norm Miller will serve as the Ontario PC Critic for Northern Development & Mines.

I look forward to working with Frank Klees and the entire Ontario PC Caucus as we keep Dalton McGuinty on the short leash Ontario families put him on.  We will continue to deliver on our priorities of creating good private sector jobs, getting government spending out of control and giving families relief.”

In a short statement, Klees said he is looking forward to playing a meaningful role in the PC caucus and the Ontario PC Party.