Ontario premier-designate vows to find 'common ground'

Kathleen Wynne said she is ready to govern, in her first news conference as newly elected Ontario Liberal Party leader and premier-designate Sunday morning.

Wynne pledged to get to work right away by holding a first caucus meeting next Tuesday, forming a cabinet and recalling the legislature by Feb. 19.

Her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, prorogued the legislature last October because of what he called "shenanigans" by opposition members.

Wynne said it was important for all parties to find common ground.

"The rancour and the viciousness of the legislature can't continue," said Wynne, adding that her party has to work out the disagreements and build a relationship among the three parties.

"Ontarians do not want an election," Wynne said. "They expect us to lead."

And while the exercise of building consensus is a "partisan exercise," Wynne said the issues that confront Ontarians cut across party lines.

The new premier-designate has her work cut out for her as she will have to confront an ongoing teachers' labour dispute and an $11.9-billion deficit.

Wynne said labour peace and social assistance reform were "very high" on her priority list and that she would begin to start tackling these challenges "within hours." She said that balancing the budget and transforming the health-care system was also on her list of priorities.

Wynne said Tim Hudak, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, was the first politician to give her a call after her win.

"I just had a conversation with Tim Hudak and it was great of him to reach out," Wynne told CBC News's Susana Mas on Saturday night.

Wynne also said she looked forward to reaching out to Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party.

Wynne's historic win makes her Ontario's first female and openly gay premier — and the sixth female premier currently in office in Canada.

"That's huge," Wynne said during Sunday's press conference.

Quebec's Premier Pauline Marois had also reached out to her, Wynne said.

Wynne defeated Sandra Pupatello on a third ballot, at the Ontario Liberal Party convention in Toronto on Saturday.

Wynne picked up the support of Eric Hoskins after the first round. She remained in second place after the second round of voting, but won a surprise endorsement from Charles Sousa, who many had expected would go to Pupatello. Gerard Kennedy then threw his support behind Wynne.

"That was a critical moment when [Sousa] moved across the floor to us," Wynne told CBC News on Saturday after her win. Sousa and Kennedy were critical, she said, and would determine the winner.

Wynne said when she saw Sousa moving, but didn't know at first where he was going.

"When he started to move to us we thought, 'OK, this is fantastic momentum. We really are on our way,'" she said.

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