Harinder Takhar resigned from his post as Ontario’s Minister of Government Services to run for the Liberal Party leadership last week.
Takhar promises he will be a “premier with a plan”. His plan includes “pay-what-you-see pricing”, a $5,000 tax credit for businesses considered “job creators”, a development corporation that offers support to entrepreneurs, and insurance premiums based on where drivers live rather than on their driving records. He also intends to address job growth and Ontario’s $14-billion deficit.
In his announcement, he said, “I believe that we need a vision and a workable plan to move this province forward.”
Takhar received the support of Mayor Hazel McCallion. “What we need today in politics is people with business backgrounds,” she said. “We need it very, very badly.”
He also drew support from supporters from Mississauga’s South Asian community. “I want everyone who comes to Ontario from somewhere else to have this—the same opportunity,” he said.
Takhar, who was born in Punjab, India, is an accountant by trade and has worked in the private sector. He has been a resident of Mississauaga for 35 years.
He started his career in government after being elected MPP of the Mississauga Centre riding in 2003. He was appointed the Minister of Transportation in the new government by Premier Dalton McGuinty, becoming the first Indian-Canadian to hold a cabinet post in Ontario. In 2006, a scandal led to his reassignment to the position of Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services. In June 2009, Takhar was reassigned again and became the Minister of Government Services.
In the wake of McGuinty’s surprise announcement of his resignation, a crowd of candidates have announced their intent to stand for the Liberal Party leadership. The six candidates running alongside Takhar are Gerard Kennedy, Sandra Pupatello, Kathleen Wynne, Eric Hoskins, Charles Sousa, and Glen Murray.
Takhar held onto his cabinet post until the last minute to declare himself a candidate. He said he hopes that as premier he can restore the support for the Liberal Party, which saw a decline in the last election.