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Vaughan MPP Greg Sorbara stepping down

Longtime provincial Liberal Greg Sorbara, MPP for the riding of Vaughan, announced Wednesday that he’s stepping down.

Sorbara, a former finance minister, made the formal announcement at 11 a.m. Wednesday. He was just re-elected in last fall’s provincial election.

“I want to thank all my constituents, over all those years, for the confidence that they have placed in me through all those years,” Sorbara said Wednesday.

“This decision is about me simply not letting my responsibilities to my constituents become a part-time pursuit alongside the other demands on my time.”

He’s not bowing out of political life completely; he will still chair the Liberals’ campaign and Ontario Liberal Fund.

Sorbara’s departure is the second provincial political resignation in the past three months to spark a byelection. Longtime Progressive Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer resigned from her post in the riding of Kitcherner-Waterloo in April to take over the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB).

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has until October to call the byelection in Kitchener-Waterloo. He’s expected to call the Vaughan byelection at the same time.

If the Liberals manage to win both byelections, they could recapture a coveted majority at Queen’s Park. The NDP and PCs have a combined 53 seats in the provincial legislature. The Liberals would have 54 seats if they win back the riding of Vaughan and take Kitchener-Waterloo.

“On behalf of Ontario New Democrats I’d like to thank Greg Sorbara for his years of public service to the people of Vaughan,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said in a statement.
 
“Fulfilling the duties of elected office isn’t easy. It takes commitment and dedication. While we may not always have seen eye to eye on the floor of the Legislature, I appreciate Mr. Sorbara’s determination and skill.”