Politics
Wynne tells Londoners she'll be 'premier for whole province'

Toronto Board of Trade welcomesd Ontario Liberal Party Leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne, MPP, Don Valley West on Wednesday, January 16 at their downtown luncheon

Credits: MICHAEL PEAKE/Toronto Sun/QMI Media

CHIP MARTIN and TARA JEFFREY | QMI AGENCY

LONDON/SARNIA, Ont. -- Ontario Liberal leadership contender Kathleen Wynne touched down Saturday in parts of the province that have turned away from her party in recent times, largely because of wind turbines and a sense her party is Toronto-centric.

The whirlwind three-day bus tour sent the former education minister across some 20 communities to shore up support among Liberals for next weekend’s party convention.

In London, the Torontonian took pains to stress as premier she would also become minister of agriculture and food and focus on rural concerns, get greater community buy-in for wind projects and work to boost the economy of the struggling region.

“I’m going to be the premier for the whole province,” she said. “I’m running to govern.”

With only two of Ontario’s premiers having come from Toronto — George Drew in the 1940s and Bob Rae in the 1990s — she said that could be “accident of history.”

“I am not sure that it’s an intentional plan on the part of Ontarians not to elect people from Toronto, said Wynne, who grew up in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill which was a small town at the time.

Wynne, MPP for Don Valley West, is trailing former Windsor MPP Sandra Pupatello in delegate selection going into the convention.

During her 40-minute stop, she took time to talk education with placard carrying teachers upset they have been denied the right to strike.

The theme of education also came up in Sarnia, where a group from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1238) who work as support staff in schools made their concerns known, particularly about the contentious Bill 115.

“The process with the teachers to get to a contract was not what it should have been,” Wynne said. “I never wanted – none of us ever wanted  -- to have to impose contracts.

“We need to established a better process for next time around,” Wynne said.

She also talked about her reluctance to call an election.

“People don't want an election,” she said. “They like that I’ve been saying from the beginning -- that we need to work with the opposition -- and that’s been my position.”

Other stops Saturday in Wynne’s “The Way Forward” tour were in Stratford, Strathroy and Exeter.

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