ONTD Political

Ontario Liberals elect the province's first female, gay premier

9:08 pm - 01/26/2013

Kathleen Wynne, the 59-year-old MPP for Don Valley West, is a long-time party member who has had several cabinet roles, including minister of transportation and minister of education.

She has vowed to bring back the legislature on Feb. 19, saying Ontarians are not looking for another election.

And in her victory speech she was quick to point out that, while she holds a Toronto riding, she will represent all of Ontario as premier.

“Can we get this Toronto thing out of the way? I am going to be the premier for the whole province,” she said.

Wynne will replace Dalton McGuinty as premier. McGuinty, who announced on Oct. 15 he would step down, has held the office since 2003.

The race went down to a third ballot, with Wynne winning 1,050 votes and her main rival, Sandra Pupatello, getting 866. Pupatello, 50, is the former MPP for Windsor West.

Pupatello had actually pulled ahead in the second ballot, beating Wynne by 67 votes. But moments later, Charles Sousa and Gerard Kennedy threw their support to Kathleen Wynne.

“She’s been a great champion for the community,” Sousa said of Wynne.

Harinder Takhar, however, backed Pupatello after finishing last on the second ballot.

“The creation of jobs is important to me,” said Takhar when asked why he chose to support Pupatello, explaining that she has strong focus on the economy.

The first to withdraw from the race was Eric Hoskins, who drew the fewest votes in the first ballot. The St. Paul’s MPP immediately threw his support behind Wynne, eliciting a thunderous cheer from the crowd.

Asked why he chose to support Wynne, Hoskins said she encompassed the qualities needed to lead the Liberal party and the province.

“Integrity, compassion, commitment, she’s a team player and all the qualities that we need,” he said, noting that his decision on who to support was not an easy one.

Going into Saturday’s convention, oddsmakers had correctly forecast that the province could have its first female premier designate by the end of the day with Pupatello and Wynne leading the race to replace outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty.

In her opening speech, Pupatello said while the Liberals are going through a “tough time” she defended the party’s victories and reminded convention-goers of the governing PC and NDP parties of the 1990s.

“We know the province is better today than it was when we inherited it,” she said, pointing to hospital closures, job losses and cash-strapped cities and towns.

“I reject the dogma of our political opponents on the right and on the left. We have better schools, cleaner air and more accessible health care,” she said. “We have a better environment for business to invest and create jobs.”

Wynne, who is openly gay, delivered a rousing speech where she asked convention-goers: “Can a gay woman win?”

Her energizing speech touched on how the party, and the province, has changed its attitude towards minorities.

“I don’t believe the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, colour or sexual orientation. I don’t believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts."

The former Liberal cabinet minister focused on improving relations with Ontario’s First Nations and on rebuilding the party.

"This leadership race has been about rededicating ourselves to Liberal values. We must be strong and fair. We must raise our hands to embrace every opportunity. We must focus on the bottom line without letting anyone slip through the cracks,” she said. “It’s why we have to balance our budget. It’s why we have to be steely in our fiscal resolve. It’s why we must keep governing."

Sauce: CTV News

ETA: Just found out she is also Canada's first openly gay premier.
romp 27th-Jan-2013 02:39 am (UTC)

I continue to be confused at Liberals. They're left-of-centre in the east and/or on the federal level but they're right-of-centre in BC? I guess you just separate provincial and federal in your head when you vote.

Edited at 2013-01-27 03:29 am (UTC)
kagehikario 27th-Jan-2013 05:37 am (UTC)
The word is... Abused. BC liberals are right, largely due to the collapse of the major right wing party in the province a few decades ago (filled the vaccume and drifted from centre to right) where as in Alberta it is left-center. Federally I read them as firmly centre these days. I was so confused what I moved to BC.

But meanwhile, yay!
soleiltropiques 28th-Jan-2013 03:27 pm (UTC)

I would suspect that in Alberta, this may be as a result of being in continual opposition to the ruling Conservatives.
soleiltropiques 28th-Jan-2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
They're right of centre in Quebec, as well. In Quebec it was a result of the separation issue: the rest of Canada wanted a leader for the provincial liberals who would be an effective leader for the party in the province (i.e. since the liberals are the main federalist or non separatist party in the province). Jean Charest was essentially 'parachuted in' at this point, as he had previously been a federal level politician within the federal Conservative party (he was a minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and ran for the leadership of the party in the race which Kim Campbell eventually won in 1993, before the massive defeat of that party in the subsequent federal elections the same year).

So Charest was never a 'liberal' or left of center, and his decisions during his (almost) ten years as premier of Quebec reflect this, being mostly what could be characterized as leaning towards the right.

Edited at 2013-01-28 03:24 pm (UTC)
mandy_croyance 28th-Jan-2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
It's really no different from the State vs. Federal parties in the US. A New England Republican is a very different animal than a Texas Republican for example, and the federal party is usually something in between.

In provinces like BC or Quebec, which trend very left, the Liberals end up looking like a center-right party but that's mostly just because they are the most right of any of the major parties on the ballot.

Edited at 2013-01-28 07:42 pm (UTC)
soleiltropiques 28th-Jan-2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
In Quebec the Liberals are not the party furthest to the right: the former ADQ and the CAQ are further to the right, actually. (The ADQ has been subsumed into the CAQ.)

Also, the Liberals in Quebec have mostly enacted policies which can be characterized as of the right or at least center-right (they in fact adopted some ideas of the ADQ on occasion). As I have pointed out, Jean Charest actually was a federal Conservative before becoming Premier of the province.

Add to this the fact that, aside from the CAQ and the Liberals, the only other large party is the Parti Québecois which has mostly tended towards the right since Lucien Bouchard in particular (one can also note that Pauline Marois herself was not only a minister under Lucien Bouchard whose government was quite definitely right-leaning, but she also threw out the SPQ-libre which had essentially functioned as the left-wing of the party), and I don't think one can really characterize Quebec politics as being 'left-leaning'.

To characterize Quebec as 'left-leaning' is not entirely accurate: the usual left/right spectrum actually tends to get obscured by the separation/sovereignty issue.

Actually, the only truly left-leaning party in the province at the moment is Québec Solidaire, which has only 2 seats.

Edited at 2013-01-28 09:56 pm (UTC)
soleiltropiques 28th-Jan-2013 10:17 pm (UTC)
I also would say that, looking at Gordon Campbell's time as Premier of BC in particular, the only accurate word to describe his government and party's outlook at that time was somewhere to the right. For instance, the reductions to income tax in all income tax brackets, cuts in corporate taxes, as well as passing legislation making it illegal for educators to go on strike, are all measures passed by the so called 'Liberal' government of Gordon Campbell, which can more accurately be referred to as policies 'of the right'.
iolarah 27th-Jan-2013 02:48 am (UTC)
I'm still not sure of the Liberal party as a whole, but good for her, and good for the Liberals for electing her. I hope she does well as the Premier.
radname 27th-Jan-2013 01:48 pm (UTC)
Horwath doesn't seem to keen on another election and Hudak is throwing anything at the wall that will stick right now. If he gets into an election where he'll have to actually explain his 'ideas', he might fall from first again.
kagehikario 27th-Jan-2013 05:39 am (UTC)
Yay! I read about this and raced here to see if it was posted.
ugotnothinonme 27th-Jan-2013 06:09 am (UTC)
very very happy for her!
uluviel 27th-Jan-2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
This means that half of provincial premiers are now women. If you add the territories, it comes down to 6 women, 7 men.

Currently have female premiers: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut.
romp 27th-Jan-2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
Impressive when it's seen like that.
queenbathory 27th-Jan-2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
apostle_of_eris 27th-Jan-2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
I thought that one of the most important things about the article was that the writer didn't think to explicitly state that regardless, the new Premier would be a woman.
seishin 27th-Jan-2013 11:28 pm (UTC)
That's awesome!
fuckfrosti 28th-Jan-2013 10:26 pm (UTC)
A gorgeous collection of choice comments from the Sun News Network's Facebook page on the story.

Sooooooo gross, be warned.

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