Murray launches Ont. Grit leadership bid

Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Glen Murray at Maple Leaf Gardens on Sunday where the Toronto...

Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Glen Murray at Maple Leaf Gardens on Sunday where the Toronto MPP announced he was running for the top job. (STAN BEHAL, Toronto Sun)

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 3:39 PM ET

TORONTO -- Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray launched himself into the Liberal leadership race Sunday with promises of tax cuts for the middle class and "no money down" post-secondary education.

"I have new ideas that will renew our vision," Murray, who referred to himself as a scandal-free politician, said. "It is time to hit the reset button."

On tax cuts, Murray said the average family making $70,000 with two kids in daycare and RRSPs would save $500 a year.

Students would not have to put money down for college or university tuition, he said. Murray promised he would provide more details on how he would pay for these initiatives throughout his campaign.

"I will reconcile all these numbers," he said.

Murray's campaign kickoff was held at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto -- the same location that will play host in January to the Ontario Liberal Party leadership convention where a successor will be chosen for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne is scheduled to announce her leadership bid Monday in her Toronto riding.

Former Liberal cabinet ministers Sandra Pupatello, Gerard Kennedy and John Wilkinson, along with Health Minister Deb Matthews are among those considering entering the race.

Murray was not flanked by any sitting MPPs -- former McGuinty cabinet minister George Smitherman made an appearance as a friend -- but the leadership candidate said he has strong support in the business community.

"The vast majority are undecided," Murray said of his caucus colleagues.

Murray said he is the only potential leadership candidate who has run a government. He served as mayor of Winnipeg where he introduced tax cuts.

Asked about the ability of a Toronto-area candidate to bring rural ridings into the fold, which is necessary if the Liberals are to form another majority government, Murray said, "I've lived in very remote places," and has farmers and miners in his family.

The Liberal Green Energy Act, which has upset many residents of rural communities who have complained about unwanted wind turbine projects, needs a rejig, he suggested.

Each municipality would be asked to develop its own energy priorities, he said.

"I think we need to relocalize it," Murray said, adding he intends to give more autonomy to Northern Ontario communities as well.

NDP MPP Gilles Bisson said the party that hiked student tuition and introduced the HST has a credibility problem with Ontarians.

"Glen Murray can hit the reset button until his finger hurts, but people won't forget he's part of the McGuinty Liberal status quo," Bisson said in a statement.


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