The 2013 Ontario Liberal Party leadership convention is upon us and delegates are poised to elect the first female premiere that the province has ever seen.
This year marks the first leadership convention since 1996 when Dalton McGuinty rose to power, and delegates have made clear that this is a horserace between the two front runners – former Windsor West MPP Sandra Pupatello and Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne.
The duo holds more than half of the delegates between themselves, and as it stands, Pupatello has 2% more delegates than Wynne.
Federal Liberal interim leader Bob Rae commented earlier this week that this convention was a “horse race” and that “a Windsor native is a strong candidate. It’s going to be a very exciting day on Saturday.”
Rae made clear that he wasn’t backing any candidate in the convention as he didn’t think it appropriate to take sides as the interim leader of the party.
“There are a lot of really good friends of mine…and qualified people [running for premiership],” commented Rae, adding, “It’s not a matter of choosing only one choice. There’s a lot of very good talented people that are running and I think that we’re going to have some very [dynamic elections].”
Sandra Pupatello: Having left politics in 2011 to accept a position as director of business and global markets at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pupatello has established herself as the economic candidate. Having served as an MPP for Windsor West, many Windsorites are hoping that her premiership would see attention focused on our struggling region. Pupatello has held many cabinet positions within the Ontario Liberal Party, including: Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister of Education, Minister of Economic Development and Trade (twice), Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, and Minister of International Trade and Investment.
Kathleen Wynne: Elected in 2003, Wynne has been seen as on the left-wing of the party. Serving as the province’s first openly lesbian cabinet minister, and the second openly LGBT cabinet minister, Wynne would be the first LGBT premiere of the province. Prior to her decision to run for premiership, Wynne served as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Aboriginal Affairs.
Eric Hoskins: Hoskins entered politics in 2009 when he ran to become MPP of St. Paul’s, he was named the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in 2010. Hoskins is a physician, former president of War Child Canada, and has worked with the United Nations and non-governmental organizations in some of the most dangerous conflict regions in the world (Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Burundi, Afghanistan and Pakistan).
Gerard Kennedy: Having served as Minister of Education from 2003 to 2006, he resigned his position to pursue a failed bid at the premiership against Dalton McGuinty at the 2006 leadership convention. Kennedy ran successfully for the federal Liberal Party of Canada and was elected as an MP for Parkdale-Highpark but was unseated by NDP MP Peggy Nash in the 2011 federal election.
Charles Sousa: Serving as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan and Para Pan American Games, Sousa resigned his position to seek the premiership. Sousa worked at RBC Financial Group for 20 years prior to entering politics, and has received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of his service to the community.
Harinder Takhar: Born in the Indian state of Punjab, Takhar moved to Canada in 1974 and was elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003. Takhar has served as the Minister of Transportation, Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services and Minister of Government Services, while also being the first Indian-Canadian to hold a cabinet post in Canada. Takhar was found to have violated Ontario’s integrity guidelines by failing to maintain an arms-length relationship with the trustee of his blind trust which was set up to run his company.
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.