Kathleen Wynne held her first caucus meeting as Liberal leader on Tuesday, a day after she met with outgoing Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
The incoming premier didn’t reveal what was discussed but described it as “good.”
“I’m glad we had a meeting as early as we did,” she said.
Wynne was met with applause as she walked into the Tuesday afternoon meeting. But before that she addressed the rumour the meeting would be an awkward one. Only 10 caucus members endorsed her in her leadership campaign while at least 23 others supported her rival Sandra Pupatello.
“For me there are no hard feelings because somebody worked on another campaign team. That’s not really what this is about,” she said.
“We are one government. We are one team and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to have a caucus meeting as quickly as possible because I don’t think we should allow any potential riffs to widen. I don’t’ think there are many… And so I wanted to put that notion to bed.”
She added that Pupatello and Gerard Kennedy who also ran for the leadership are thinking about their next steps and “My hope is that both Sandra and Gerard will be part of our movement forward as a party and as a government.”
Wynne also said she spoken with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and that the two plan to meet over the next few days. Some of her priority issues include transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
“For the GTHA and beyond I think it’s the No. 1 condition that we need to get right in terms of economic growth.”
In February, the City of Toronto will be holding public meetings and seeking public feedback on how residents want to pay for new transit. And its provincial transit partner Metrolinx will also be bringing out a menu of revenue tools to pay for its Big Move plan for the GTHA.
“I have said that it’s not whether we’re going to create a revenue stream,” Wynne said. “I have said that it’s which of those tools we’re going to use.”
Duncan won’t be in cabinet
The caucus will be missing another familiar face: Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said Tuesday afternoon that he won’t be accepting a cabinet position and that he’d address what he plans to do with his seat in Windsor Tecumseh next week.
It’s not known when Wynne, the premier-delegate, will be sworn in as premier, but she has said she’ll recall the legislature by Feb. 19. She must choose a new cabinet before the legislature resumes.
Wynne is hoping to form a coalition to prop up her minority government, but the Tories have already launched attack ads targeting her.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Monday that he’s “concerned that the first 48 hours are sounding too much like the last nine years,” while NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called for a public inquiry into the cancelled gas plants.
Wynne needs the support of at least one other party to pass the budget.
Wynne will also be grappling with Ontario’s $11.9-billion deficit; the aftermath of Bill 115 , which poisoned the government’s relationship with its teachers; the Ornge air ambulance scandal; and the gas plant controversy.