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More Congratulations to Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 06/13/14
Last updated on: 06/13/14
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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. She has now been elected Premier in her own right, having led her party to a sweeping victory in the June 12, 2014 election.

In a memorable speech at the Liberal Party nominating convention in January 2013, 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."

Her prediction proved true on June 12, 2014, when she received what she described as a "strong mandate" from the voters and enough seats in Parliament to form a majority government. The current count in the returns shows the Liberal Party having won 59 seats, the Progressive Conservative Party 27 seats, and the New Democratic Party 21 seats.

As the Toronto Sun reported, Wynne achieved a stunning victory after a "rocky campaign" in which she cast herself as the only leader prepared to move the province forward.

During her victory speech, Wynne promised to respect the voters of Ontario. "You have put your trust in us and we will not let you down," she said. "I will work every day to earn and keep the confidence of the people of Ontario."

Wynne also thanked her wife Jane Rounthwaite who joined her on stage to raise their hands together in victory.

In her speech, Wynne called Ontario a "beautiful, inclusive place . . . where anyone can be the premier."

Wynne's rise in Ontario politics has been rapid. She was first elected to the Ontario Provincial Parliament in 2003, and quickly assumed leadership positions. Before becoming Premier, she served as Minister of Education, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Her appointment as Minister of Education in 2006 made her Ontario's first openly lesbian cabinet minister.

In Wynne's 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 an interviewer.

She is 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.

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

Below is Wynne's victory speech on the the night of June 12, 2014.

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