Ontario Liberals elect the province's first female, gay premier9:08 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.