Kathleen Wynne: Canada's first gay premier, Ontario's first female premier

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Now this is what you call a Wynne-win situation. (Sorry.)

      History—or rather herstory—has been made.

      When Ontario Liberals chose Kathleen Wynne, 59, to become the head of the province's minority government on January 26, Wynne became not only the province's first female premier but also Canada's first openly gay premier. 

      Ontario becomes the sixth Canadian province or territory to have a female premier (following British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut).

      In her speech at the Liberal convention in Toronto, she addressed her sexual orientation directly.

      "Is Ontario ready for a gay premier? You've all heard that question... Not surprisingly, I have an answer to that question," Wynne said. "I do not believe that the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, sexual orientation, colour or religion. I don't believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts. They judge us on our merits."

      Wynne replaces Dalton McGuinty, who stepped down in October. The province is facing a deficit of $11.9-billion.

      Svend Robinson, who became Canada's first out gay MP in Canada, hailed her win as "progress we can all celebrate", and he also noted how times have changed. Robinsons, who represented Burnaby for the NDP from 1979 to 2004, recalled how, after coming out in 1988, his office windows were smashed, he received death threats, and homophobic criticism came from the media and public officials.

      While she said she's not an activist, she does hope to be a role model for others.

      "If I can help people to be less frightened, then that is a wonderful, wonderful thing," she said.