Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kathleen Wynne to Become Ontario's First Woman Premier on Feb. 11

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kathleen Wynne to Become Ontario's First Woman Premier on Feb. 11

Article excerpt

Wynne officially Ontario premier-designate

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TORONTO - Ontario will get its 25th premier and a brand new cabinet on Feb. 11, just a week before the legislature is set to re-open.

But premier-designate Kathleen Wynne was tight-lipped Thursday about what that new government will look like once Premier Dalton McGuinty officially resigns.

She wouldn't say who would be added or dropped from the front benches as the governing Liberals get ready to face two feisty opposition parties in a minority parliament.

"You know what, stay tuned. We're just in the process of putting that together," she said after meeting Thursday with McGuinty and Lt.-Gov. David Onley.

"What you'll see is a strong cabinet, a strong government because ... I know the times call for a firm hand and that is exactly what we're going to provide."

The meeting with Onley kickstarted the process of formally transferring power from McGuinty to Wynne, who won the Liberal leadership on Saturday. Ontario's vice-regal asked Wynne to form a government and announced the date for her to be sworn in with her new cabinet.

Wynne has said there's room for all the leadership candidates around the cabinet table. But those who threw their support behind her at the convention could get plum jobs.

Former banker Charles Sousa and celebrated humanitarian Eric Hoskins are both sitting MPPs with cabinet experience. The other candidate, Gerard Kennedy, doesn't have a seat. Harinder Takhar, another former minister who supported runner-up Sandra Pupatello, could stay on as well if Wynne lives up to her promise.

The new cabinet will have just seven days to prepare a throne speech for the opening of the legislature, then finish putting together a budget before the fiscal year ends Mar. 31.

Wynne promised to "hit the ground running," eliminating the $12-billion deficit by 2017-18 while addressing social issues like affordable housing and helping welfare recipients find jobs. …

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