by Lisa Queen & Justin Skinner
The next premier of Ontario will be crowned after the next round of voting at the Liberal leadership convention, with Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne facing off against former Windsor MPP Sandra Pupatello at the former Maple Leafs Gardens.
Former Parkdale-High Park MPP and MP Gerard Kennedy and Mississauga South MPP Charles Sousa bowed out of the race after the second ballot Saturday afternoon, with both throwing their support behind Wynne.
Kennedy told his supporters that it was pretty clear he wasn't going to win.
"We ran hard, we ran well. There was a chance for us to win today but it didn't materialize," he said before realizing there were a couple of reporters in the room and asking them to leave.
About half an hour later, he walked over to Wynne and gave her his endorsement.
Delegates supporting Wynne and St. Paul's MPP Eric Hoskins, who supported Wynne after falling off the ballot after the first round with the fewest votes, said they are confident about Wynne's chances of winning the leadership.
"I'm feeling pretty good right now about her chances," Wynne delegate Matthew Powell said. "I'm feeling good about our chances as a party with Kathleen. She can get the legislature back right away."
Pupatello has said she wouldn't bring back the prorogued legislature until she wins a by-election.
Powell said he likes Wynne's style of listening to people and feels she's the best candidate to reach out to the Conservatives and NDP.
Hoskins' supporter Marc Quinet said he believed Hoskins represents compassionate government and believes he would make a great health minister under a Wynne government.
"He's the real McCoy. He's a politician almost in name only," he said. "He's bound and determined to make it better for people."
Quinet is impressed that Hoskins turned out to be something of a king maker in the race by endorsing Wynne.
He didn't have a choice of candidate after Hoskins but followed him to Wynne.
Kennedy delegate , Joan Link, said she's been loyal to Kennedy since he lost to Premier Dalton McGuinty 16 years ago.
"I believe in his philosophy for the people of Ontario," she said.
Despite Kennedy's endorsement of Wynne, Link is supporting Pupatello because Link ran for MPP in Sarnia when Pupatello first won.
"I've been following her career ever since and it's a loyalty thing," she said.
Richard Fransham also supported Kennedy and is following his lead by supporting Wynne.
"Wynne seems closer to Gerard's style. She's more inclined to mediate," he said.