Provincial lawmaker Kathleen Wynne has been chosen as leader of the ruling Ontario Liberal Party, beating out Sandra Pupatello and four other candidates during the party’s leadership contest. She’ll be the first female premier of Canada’s most populous province.
Wynne, 59, gained the majority of support of delegates who voted at the leadership convention today in Toronto, beating out Pupatello, 50, in the third ballot. The victory by Wynne, who’ll be Canada’s first openly gay premier, puts women in charge of provincial governments overseeing about 90 percent of Canada’s economy and population.
Wynne succeeds Dalton McGuinty, who stepped down as premier on Oct. 16 amid controversy over canceled power plants and an inability to implement budget cuts in his minority government. McGuinty, after nine years as premier and 16 years as Liberal leader, said he resigned in order to allow his party to renew itself and to spend more time with his family.
“This is going to be a great government, and we’re going to build on the legacy of Dalton,” Wynne said in her victory speech. “We’re going to build on the work that Dalton McGuinty has done over the last nine years.”
Wynne won after getting 1,150 votes in the final round of voting, compared with 866 for Pupatello. She gained support of candidates Gerard Kennedy, 52, and Charles Sousa, 54, who both withdrew from the contest after the second ballot, and Eric Hoskins, 51, who was eliminated after the first round of voting.
Wynne, a Toronto resident, was first elected to Ontario’s provincial parliament in 2003. She was re-elected to her third term in October 2011.
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