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Canada's newest premier

Working with the opposition parties, repairing relations with teachers and dealing with the Liberal government's past mistakes are some of the top priorities for the woman who will become Ontario's first female premier.

Kathleen Wynne, 59, won the Liberal leadership Saturday, while thousands of union activists and teachers angry over having contracts imposed on them protested outside the party's convention at the old Maple Leaf Gardens.

But while she wants to repair relations with teachers, a core support group for the Liberals in the past, the incoming premier made it clear she won't cave to their demands, and wants them to return to supervising after-class clubs and sports.

"I'm very clear with them that I'm not going to rip up those contracts, but I've also been very clear that we have to engage in a conversation about extracurriculars," she told reporters Sunday.

Wynne, who will also be Canada's first openly gay premier, said she hopes her historic victory will give a message of hope to young gay people, but added she's not a gay activist and that's not why she entered politics.

Wynne said she wants to try to keep the minority government alive by working with the Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats rather than have a general election.

Ontarians don't want a general election, they want their politicians to work together on issues, she said.

Wynne said she was looking forward to working with other premiers across the country.

The next meeting of Canada's provincial and territorial leaders is going to look, and perhaps act differently than previous male-dominated meetings, added Wynne, who will be the sixth female premier in the meeting.

"(Quebec Premier) Pauline Marios has already reached out to me," she said.

"I'm looking forward to talking with all of them, and I think the conversation at that table of premiers will be very interesting, and I look forward to chairing that meeting."

The Canadian Press


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