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Kathleen Wynne Biography

Kathleen Wynne, First Woman Premier of Ontario

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Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

Courtesy, Liberal Party of Ontario

Updated: 02/12/2013

About Kathleen Wynne

In January 2013 Kathleen Wynne won the Ontario Liberal Party leadership race to replace Dalton McGuinty who had announced his retirement after nine years in the province's top political job. She becomes the province's first woman premier and also the first openly gay premier. Kathleen Wynne has a background in conflict mediation, implementing conflict mediation programs in many schools in Ontario, and was a community activist before getting into politics. First elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003, she has been the Minister of Education, Transportation, Municipal Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs.

Wynne is strong on policy and has a warm, engaging personality, and an optimistic outlook. She is a consensus builder with an inclusive style, and speaks directly, but very tactfully. She is going to need all her conflict mediation skills to handle the problems left by McGuinty. The Ontario legislature has been prorogued since McGuinty's resignation in October, and resentment and frustration has been festering on a lot of fronts. The Liberals have a minority government and need the co-operation of some of the opposition to get anything done. Ontario has an $11.9-billion deficit, its manufacturing sector is in trouble, teachers are furious about how their contracts have been handled, and there is pressure for an inquiry into the cancellation of two gas plants that cost the province $230-million.

Kathleen Wynne has said that she will bring the legislature back quickly. On the day after her leadership win, she said her top priorities would be youth unemployment, a review of social assistance, the pay freeze in the public sector, and repairing the relationship with Ontario's teachers. In response to criticism that because she is from Toronto, rural Ontario will be ignored, she has said that she will take on the role of Minister of Agriculture for the first year.

Premier of Ontario

2013 to present

Birth

May 21, 1953 in Richmond Hill, Ontario

Education

BA - Queen's University
MA - Linguistics -University of Toronto
M.Ed. - Adult Education - OISE
Mediation training - Harvard University

Political Affiliation

Liberal Party of Ontario

Riding (Electoral District)

Don Valley West

Professional Background of Kathleen Wynne

As a community activist, Kathleen Wynne has led citizens groups in a variety of grassroots community projects, working as both an organizer and facilitator. She also ran a small business as a conflict mediation practitioner.

Kathleen Wynne's Political Background

Kathleen Wynne's first political role came with her election in 2000 as a public school trustee in Toronto. She strongly opposed education cuts by the Conservative government.

She was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 2003 Ontario provincial election, and was appointed Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities. A year later she became Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, Gerard Kennedy.

In 2006 Wynne was appointed Minister of Education in a cabinet shuffle. As education minister for three years she worked on full-day kindergarten, reducing class sizes, increasing graduation rates, and increasing test scores.

She became Minister of Transportation in 2010. In that portfolio she oversaw a large transit and infrastructure expansion which included the Highway 407 East Expansion and the Windsor-Essex Parkway. She worked with the Mayor of Toronto, Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission to ensure the construction of the Eglinton-Scarborough LRT. She also introduced the Ontario Photo Card, a government ID Card for those who don't have a driver's licence.

In 2011, Wynne became Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, where she worked on a federal-provincial agreement to improve access to affordable housing as well as on social assistance support.

As Minister of Aboriginal Affairs at the same time Wynne worked with First Nations communities on addressing issues such as mining development and improving quality of life for aboriginals living off-reserve.

Kathleen Wynne resigned from cabinet in November 2012 in order to run for the Liberal Party leadership. She was elected as Liberal Party leader on January 26, 2013.

Kathleen Wynne was sworn is as Premier of Ontario on February 11, 2013.

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