Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa-Area Legislator John Fraser Selected Interim Ontario Liberal Leader

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa-Area Legislator John Fraser Selected Interim Ontario Liberal Leader

Article excerpt

John Fraser interim Ontario Liberal leader

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TORONTO - The new interim leader of Ontario's Liberals says grassroot members will play a crucial role in rebuilding the party after its stunning defeat in last week's election.

Ottawa-area legislator John Fraser was selected Thursday after a vote by caucus members, riding association presidents and party executives.

In a brief statement, Fraser acknowledged there will be years of rebuilding ahead for the party, but promised to work toward the renewal process.

"I will be communicating with our membership over the coming days and am committed to working closely with them, and with our supporters across the province to build a strong and inclusive Liberal Party," he said.

The Liberal caucus, which was reduced to seven members, had unanimously endorsed Fraser for the position on Wednesday evening.

Liberal Party President Brian Johns lauded Fraser as a dedicated party member who has been involved in politics in different capacities for 40 years.

"John is extremely committed to our Liberal family," Johns said. "And I believe he has the right mix of experience, dedication, and hunger for hard work, that our party needs as we begin the process of reconnecting with our grassroots."

A backbencher in the Liberal government, Fraser was first elected in a byelection in 2013 that was called after former party leader Dalton McGuinty stepped down.

Fraser's appointment comes a day after the Liberals held their final cabinet meeting, a gathering that focused on rebuilding the party that governed the province for the last 15 years.

Outgoing Premier Kathleen Wynne resigned as party leader on election night after her government was defeated by Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives. The Tories, who won a majority, will take power on June 29.

Fraser has never held a cabinet post but has served as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of health, minister of northern development and mines, and the minister of natural resources. …

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