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Popular Topics in The Arts
Nyad, Diana Nyad, Diana
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Congratulations
 
Congratulations to Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 01/27/13
Last updated on: 01/28/13
 
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Congratulations to Kathleen Wynne, who made history on January 26, 2013 by winning the Ontario Liberal Party Leadership race to become Ontario's first woman Premier and Canada's first openly gay Premier.

On the nominating convention's third ballot, Wynne surged past her chief rival to win the leadership post. She succeeds Premier Dalton McGuinty, who announced on October 15, 2012 that he was resigning as premier as soon as the Liberal Party chose his successor in January 2013.

In a memorable speech at the convention, Wynne told the delegates that she did not think her lesbianism would prevent her success at the ballot box in Canada's largest province. "I don't believe the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, colour or sexual orientation. I don't believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts."

Wynne's rise in Ontario politics has been rapid. As Adrian Morrow and Kathleen Howlett report in Toronto's Globe and Mail, just "Nine years ago, Kathleen Wynne was a social activist-turned school trustee who handily knocked off a sitting cabinet minister to earn a seat in the Ontario legislature."

Since her election to the Ontario Provincial Parliament in 2003, Wynne has served as Minister of Education, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and, until she announced her intention to seek the leadership, as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Her appointment as Minister of Education in 2006 made her Ontario's first openly lesbian cabinet minister.

Jennifer Wells reports in The Star that in her first political race, a 1994 campaign for school trustee that she narrowly lost, she was attacked as an "extremist lesbian."

The ultimate effect of that kind of gay-baiting was to embolden her. "To have somebody say . . . you are 'other' and we can marginalize you. I was indignant. . . . I wasn't going to let that stop me," she told Wells.

Wynne came out in 1990. She is now married to Jane Rounthwaite, who has been her partner since 1991 and has been very visible in her campaigns.

Wynne and Rounthwaite and Wynne's former husband Phil Cowperthwaite were featured in journalist Cate Cochran's book, In Reconcilable Differences, about families seeking ways to stay together in the midst of divorce. Because Wynne and Cowperthaite both insisted on seeing their three children every day even after their divorce, they purchased homes that were connected by a yard.

After winning the leadership post, Wynne told the Party that she was prepared to lead it into the next election and vowed to do so "on the basis of our merits."

In this video from 2011, Wynne introduces herself and speaks about her Don Valley riding.

In the video below, from the first day of the nominating convention, Wynne explains her strategy to win the leadership vote.

After winning the leadership position, Wynne thanks her wife Jane Rounthwaite.

 
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