On Friday the Canadian province of Ontario appointed Kathleen Wynne to be its next premier – making her the province’s first female leader and the first openly gay or lesbian provincial leader in Canadian history.
Wynne, a Canadian Liberal Party MP, had previously served as the province’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Aboriginal Affairs before resigning from cabinet to run for the party’s leadership.
Wynne came out on top of leadership rival Sandra Pupatello at the Ontario Liberal Party’s leadership convention in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in a vote of 1,150 to 866 after three rounds of voting.
Pupatello had won the first two rounds of voting but lost out eventually after other candidates for the leadership endorsed Wynne after it became clear they had no chance of winning and removed their names from the ballot.
Prior to the vote some Liberals had expressed concerns over whether Ontario voters would be prepared to re-elect an openly gay leader but Wynne dismissed those concerns in her acceptance speech.
‘I don’t believe the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, color or sexual orientation,’ Wynne told convention delegates.
‘I don’t believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts.’
Wynne was joined on stage by her long term partner Jane Rounthwaite – an executive who specializes in working with non-profit and charitable organizations.
Wynne succeeds Dalton McGuinty as premier and the Liberal Party’s leader in Ontario.
McGuinty announced that he would be resigning his roles prior to the Liberal’s 2013 provincial convention in October after the province’s deficit tripled under his watch, resulting in his government introducing a range of unpopular austerity measures.