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Ontario PCs elect MPP Jim Wilson as interim leader

The Ontario PC Party caucus has elected Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson its interim leader as the Ontario legislature resumed for the first time since the June 12 election.

Tim Hudak officially stepped down as leader Wednesday after announcing his intention to do so following a disappointing showing by the PCs on election night.

Hudak, who will keep his seat in the legislature, did not attend Wednesday’s caucus meeting. Wilson will lead the party until a new, permanent leader is chosen.

Last week, PC MPP Christine Elliott — the widow of ex-federal finance minister Jim Flaherty — announced that she would be seeking the party leadership, her second shot at the position.

“I am determined to lead the PC party,” she said outside the McMurrich Building at the University of Toronto last Wednesday.

Elliott finished third when Hudak won the Tory leadership race in 2009.

Tory MPP and labour critic Monte McNaughton said he is also “seriously” considering a run for the leadership. Tory energy critic Lisa MacLeod, Tory MPP and finance critic Vic Fedeli, and party president Richard Ciano are also being touted as potential candidates for the position.

All 107 MPPs were sworn in Wednesday morning, including Premier Kathleen Wynne and her new cabinet.

The next order of business will be to elect a new Speaker later this afternoon. Five people are up for the job including two Liberals — Dave Levac, who held the job before the election was called, and Shafiq Qaadri.

Progressive Conservative Rick Nicholls and New Democrats, Paul Miller and Cheri DiNovo, also want the job.

The previous legislative session was dissolved in May after the NDP refused to back the budget of Wynne’s minority government, who then swept to a majority government.