She did it with one of the most genuine, gutsy speeches I’ve ever heard from a politician. On Saturday evening Kathleen Wynne became Ontario’s first female Premier, joining five others in the federation (Newfoundland, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, and Nunavut). She also becomes the first openly Gay/Lesbian Premier; a fact which she has confronted head on both in her speech Saturday Morning, and in her news conference on Sunday.
She’s refreshingly blunt saying in her victory speech “and now the hard work begins.” Wynne couldn’t be more on point with that sentiment. She inherits a government brought low by scandal, while still involved in a fight with organized labour, and its financial house in relative ruins.
Among her first jobs; to make a cabinet. Who will advise her? It’s rumoured Dwight Duncan wants out earlier than expected with a Bay St. job lined up. Education Minister Laurel Broten is said to be on the way out as well for her handling of the Bill 115 fight. Campaign chair Deb Matthews is under a cloud of Ornge; it’s hard for me to imagine her getting a senior post. Hoskins I can imagine will be in Health, and speculation has put Glen Murray in Municipal Affairs or Training/Colleges/Universities, and Sousa in Finance. Although it’d be hard to replace Duncan this late in budget process.
Next she has to reach out to the opposition and organized labour. There are already some heavy conditions on this with Andrea Horwath wanting a public inquiry into the Gas Plant scandal, and a contempt motion on the table. There’s common ground on the social justice front between them. Wynne has already said she won’t re-open contracts imposed under Bill 115; so that fight will continue. Perhaps this is an area she can work with Tim Hudak?
Wynne has to do it all while striking a direction that is distinct from Dalton McGuinty; a tough task. But I think she can do it; Ontarians want to give her a chance. They want to give her some time. I for one, want to see what develops.