By Sean Tepper
Former Liberal Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) and Ryerson professor Gerard Kennedy will be returning to provincial politics. He will be running for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, Kennedy announced Monday.
In addition to being the former Ontario minister of education, former executive director of the Daily Bread Food Bank, and past federal Liberal leadership candidate, Kennedy, 52, was a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management in 2007.
While teaching at Ryerson, Kennedy delivered a series of lectures to both undergraduate and graduate management students on various topics including entrepreneurship, enterprise culture and corporate social responsibility. He also delivered a number of public lectures to the Ryerson community.
“He spent a lot of time with students,” said Mary Ng, the acting director of the President’s Office at Ryerson. “He used to have these drop-in sessions where students would come up with a topic that they were particularly interested in and [speak with him about it].”
In addition to spending time with students, Ng, who worked closely with Kennedy during his time at researching ways in which the government and non-profit sector could work together on a number of different issues.
“While he was working at the university he was talking about this idea of enterprising for the public good.
It’s in particular drawing from his experience as a cabinet minister and heading up a food bank,” she said.
“It was this idea that a lot of good can be done through collaborating… he often found solutions, he often fixed problems by bringing differing points of views together to [find and fix a problem].”
Kennedy, who lost the leadership race in 1996 to outgoing leader Dalton McGuinty, served as the education minister between 2003 and 2006.
While he has yet to discuss his platform in detail, Kennedy emphasizes the power of participation and active membership to renew the public’s faith in the Liberal party.
“I need you to get involved and use the accountability that I, as a new leader, will bring in to make a Liberal membership more impactful than it ever has,” he said in a video posted on his campaign website.
He will be running against former cabinet ministers Glen Murray, Sandra Pupatello, Charles Sousa and Kathleen Wynne for the title, which will be announced on the weekend of Jan. 25 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.