Wynne says 'viciousness' of legislature must end
Ontario’s premier-designate Kathleen Wynne says she hopes to move past the “viciousness” of partisan politics and work with the provincial opposition parties.
“The rancour and the viciousness of the legislature can’t continue. We have to continue to work out our disagreements,” Wynne told reporters on Sunday, a day after she made history by becoming Ontario’s first female and openly gay premier.
Wynne said following her win she had a brief conversation with Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak and she plans to speak to NDP leader Andrea Horwath later in the day.
She said she’s optimistic about working with the opposition, despite the strong possibility that the minority Liberal government could fall once the legislature resumes.
“I’m thinking that we have a chance and we have a good shot at using the momentum that we built up,” Wynne said. “I’ve been very clear since day one that I believe there are ways of finding common ground. That it’s possible to bring people together and have a different kind of discussion.”
Wynne listed youth unemployment, a review of social assistance, pay freezes in the public sector and repairing the relationship with Ontario’s teachers as her top priorities.
She added she’s looking forward to speaking with opposition leaders about improving government accountability.
The 59-year-old Don Valley West MPP has vowed to resume the legislature on Feb. 19 and said one of government’s first priorities will be presenting a provincial budget that can win the support of at least one of the opposition parties.
“I will be working with the opposition and working with colleagues to put in place a budget that will pass. But none of that takes away from the necessity to stay on track to balance that budget,” Wynne told CTV’s Question Period.
Last week, Ontario’s Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced the projected deficit for 2012-13 had dropped nearly $3 billion to $11.9 billion.
“I want to stay on track,” Wynne said.
As an openly gay woman, Wynne said when she was first elected to the legislature she felt a special responsibility to young moms and young gay people.
“I’m not a gay activist, that’s not how I got into politics…but it is important to me that people who are frightened see the possibilities. And if I can help people be less frightened, then that’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.”
Wynne added that it’s “remarkable” that Canada now boasts six female premiers.
Along with Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut have women at the helm of the governing provincial parties.
“We wondered about why we haven’t had a higher percentage of women in legislature and in parliament,” Wynne said. “Well, maybe now we’re reaching a critical mass and maybe now it will just be whether you’ve got what it takes to get your name on a ballot.”