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Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan officially resigns

Veteran Ontario politician Dwight Duncan has officially resigned as MPP and as Ontario’s finance minister in an announcement Thursday morning.

Duncan has been very clear since Dalton McGuinty retired that he was going to step down as well.

“I’m very proud of the fact I was Dalton McGuinty’s guy, I always will be, but I think Kathleen (Wynne) is a free hand,” Duncan said in his announcement at Queen’s Park. “There are a lot of talented people in caucus who have not had an opportunity to serve in cabinet and can help put a fresh face on our government,” he added.

Duncan also published a note on his Facebook page, writing that it’s not a goodbye, it’s just a thank you.

“He helped make our communities safer, as Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and stronger, as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing,” Premier McGuinty said in a statement about Duncan.

“I think the key to the timing is to make room for [Wynne] to appoint a finance minister and as long he was there, she would have a hard time doing it because he is not one that anyone would really want to get rid of,” said 680News political affairs specialist John Stall.

“He’s been good, he’s been steady. But as long he’s there, she cannot appoint her own finance minister and he has no intention staying, he said that himself.”

Duncan did not specify what he will do next, but said there have been offers. The Globe and Mail has reported that he’ll be taking an advisory job with a Bay Street law firm.

His resignation will clear the way for a by-election in the Windsor-Tecumseh riding, but a date for the election has not been set. Duncan has represented Windsor-area ridings since 1995.

“The party needs to renew itself and therefore, people like me really do need to step aside,” Duncan said last week.

Wynne will announce her new cabinet when she is sworn on Monday.