by Lisa Queen & Justin Skinner
Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne is the first woman premier of Ontario.
With the help of queen-makers St. Paul's MPP Eric Hoskins, former Parkdale-High Park MPP and MP Gerard Kennedy, and Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray (who dropped out of the race earlier this month and backed Wynne), Wynne beat out front-runner and supposed party establishment choice Sandra Pupatello to win the party leadership Saturday night, Jan. 26.
After thanking her supporters and delegates of all the candidates, and hugging out-going Premier Dalton McGuinty, Wynne turned her attention to the future.
"Believe it or not, this was the easy part. Now, we have the challenges ahead of us," she said.
Liberals want to govern with a minority government but must be prepared to face an election at a moment's notice, Wynne said.
"This is going to be a great government and we're going to build on the legacy of Dalton," she added.
She also addressed one of the issues dogging her campaign - being from Toronto.
"Let's get this Toronto thing out of the way, I am going to be the premier for the whole province," she said.
Wynne had stressed that she, unlike Pupatello, already has a seat in the legislature and is in the best position to be premier.
Pupatello, a former Windsor MPP, would have needed to win a by-election.
Pupatello told the convention she was thrilled two women were frontrunners in the race.
"We had the guys on the run and Kathleen and I were out in front from the beginning," she said. "Tonight we made history; the final ballot had two women on the ballot, two strong women on the ballot."
Wynne intends to recall the prorogued legislature Feb. 19 and will meet with her caucus Tuesday, Jan. 29.