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Profile of Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

Jul 25, 2013

 

 

Kathleen Wynne is Ontario’s 25th Premier. She was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 as the MPP for Don Valley West, and she became the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in January, 2013.  

 

Family story:

 
Wynne's mother was a British subject who grew up in the Bahamas before immigrating to Canada. Kathleen grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Prior to her coming out at age 37, she was married with three children. She now lives with her partner Jane. Wynne is a member of the United Church of Canada. 
 

Education

 
  • Bachelor of Arts degree at Queen's University
  • Master of Arts degree in linguistics from the University of Toronto  
  • Master of Education degree in adult education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto)  
  • Mediation training at Harvard University 

Former pre-occupations:

 
  • In 1996, she helped found Citizens for Local Democracy, which opposed the amalgamation of the City of Toronto.  
  • Founder of the Metro Parent Network (now the Toronto Parent Network) which supports improvements in the province's public education system,
  • Co-founder, MAD for Dancing:  a community fundraising group that supports gay and lesbian youth.

Political beginnings:

 

Lost:  Premier Wynne first ran for trustee in 1994 in Toronto but was defeated.  
Won:  In 2000, she ran again and was elected as a public school trustee in Toronto's ward 8.  
Lost:  In December 2001, Wynne ran for chair of the school board but was defeated by another strong female candidate.  
Won:  Wynne was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 2003 provincial election. 
Served:  She has served as  Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Education. 
 

Leadership bid:

 
  • Earlier this year, Ms. Wynne won her party’s leadership contest against an impressive list of contenders, including Sandra Pupatello, former Ontario MPP who was regarded to be the frontrunner.
  • Wynne was sworn in as Premier of Ontario on February 11, 2013, becoming the province's first female Premier. 

 Claim to fame/highlights:

 
  • Kathleen Wynne is the first premier in Canada to be openly gay.
  • While Ontario’s Minister of Education, Kathleen led the establishment of the provinces's innovative full-day kindergarten program.
  • Wynne was a competitive runner and says she still holds the record of 63.3 seconds for the 440-yard dash in her old Richmond Hill school district. Ran her first marathon in Harrisburg, Pa., in 1989 in 3:44:16.

 

 

This Premier's profile is part of EV's summer news series on the occasion of the annual Premiers' meeting at Niagara on the Lake in July 2013. This year, a historic six women premiers were at the table representing nearly half of all Premiers. Read more here.

 

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Thanks also to the Government of Canada (Status of Women & Canadian Heritage) for their financial support.