Kathleen Wynne (R) laughs with Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley after being sworn in as the Premier of Ontario in the Legislative Chamber at Queen's Park in Toronto February 11, 2013.
Credits: REUTERS/Jon Blacker
It wasn't so much a Who's Who of the provincial politerati that showed up for Kathleen Wynne's swearing in on Monday.
It was more a Who's Not Here.
Who didn't show up was as telling as who did.
Most noticeably and shockingly, New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath was not in the legislature as the province's first woman premier, the first openly gay premier in the country, was sworn in.
And only four of the NDP's MPPs showed up -- and one of them left halfway through.
That's not just a slight to Wynne, it shows a complete lack of class.
It was a major faux pas. It may have been unintentional. But it came across as a big snub.
Horwath's people explained she was in Thunder Bay at an event that couldn't be cancelled.
"Andrea was already booked a long time ago in order to go to Thunder Bay. She spoke to the premier's office and said she couldn't make it," explained Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson.
"It's just one of those things," he said, adding that Horwath will be talking to Wynne this week.
That doesn't explain the poor turnout by NDP MPPs, many of whom are from Toronto. They could easily have attended.
To their credit, Tim Hudak and 18 Tories showed up. When you consider that many of their members are from rural areas, it took some effort for them to get in.
If John Yakabuski can haul in from Renfrew, as he did, then surely some of the latte socialists from downtown Toronto could have showed up.
The swearing in really isn't about partisan politics.
It's about showing respect for the people of the province, the people each MPP represents -- and respect for the institution of parliament.
Also absent was Sandra Pupatello.
Wynne defeated the the former Windsor MPP to win the party leadership.
The new premier courted Pupatello to come back to cabinet -- rumours persist she was offered the coveted finance portfolio -- but so far, no luck.
That's not a good sign for the upcoming byelection that will be needed to replace Dwight Duncan in his Windsor Tecumseh seat.
Duncan had offered to step down if Pupatello became premier to give her a seat.He resigned his seat anyway. Thursday is his last day.
There must be a byelection within six months and it could be a tricky one for the Liberals.
Pupatello has rock star status in her hometown. When the Liberals picked Wynne, they snubbed Windsor -- big time.
Voters in that city could well chose to punish the Liberals for not choosing their favourite daughter to be premier by electing a New Democrat.
Then there were the empty seats on the Liberal side of the house.Wynne has appointed a huge cabinet. Only 25 Liberals didn't make the cut.
Of those, only 11 showed up in the legislature to applaud their lucky colleagues.
Notably absent were Donna Cansfield, an exceptionally capable former minister and former Toronto District School Board chair who did not get the nod.
Margarett Best from Scarborough Guildwood was unceremoniously dumped from cabinet -- and she wasn't in the legislature either.
Wynne has her work cut out for her.
There'll be a throne speech Feb. 19 and then she'll have to get down to the tough task of getting a budget through the legislature without precipitating an election.
And she'll be facing tough battles in two vacant seats -- in Windsor and London.
It could be they'll be re-writing that Who's Who. The new book? The Liberal Who Isn't Who Any more.