New premier will face plenty of issues

By the end of this weekend, Ontario will have a new premier and it is expected to be a woman.
Right now, Sandra Pupatello is leading the race to replace outgoing premier Dalton McGuinty, followed closely by Kathleen Wynne.
If either of them win, they will become Ontario’s first female premier. But it’s also possible the two current front-runners won’t make it to the final ballot as 1,837 Liberals cast their vote for their new leader.
Wynne is a former minister of education, having been promoted to that position in 2006. She was first elected to the legislature in 2003.
In January, 2010, she became minister of transportation and then, in 2011, was appointed minister of municipal affairs and housing.
Pupatello, meanwhile, left provincial politics in 2011, prior to the last provincial election. She won her Windsor seat for the first time in 1995.
Pupatello has held the posts of minister of community and social services, education, economic development and trade, the minister responsible for women’s issues, and minister of international trade and development.
The next premier will face a daunting task. She, or he, will inherit a minority government that has seen the legislature adjourned since Premier McGuinty abruptly announced his resignation back in October.
And one almost can foretell that we will have a provincial election early this spring.
Ontario continues to fund programs by borrowing money and there are lots of issues brewing. Bill 115, the so-called Putting Students First Act passed late last year, is a sore point with both elementary and secondary teachers across the province.
Surprise! Late Monday afternoon, the Liberal government announced it was repealing the bill, saying it had served its purpose.
With the economy stalled in Ontario, and operating on deficits, the Liberal government under a new premier will have to make tough decisions with regards to health, education, energy, and infrastructure expenditures, to name just a few pressing issues.
One of the big issues the new Ontario premier will face is how she or he deals with the two opposition parties. Andrea Horwath, leader of the New Democratic Party, has suggested a coalition be formed between the Liberals and NDP.
While both women Liberal candidates have rejected outright any formal agreement, both are prepared to meet with the Progressive Conservative and NDP leaders to discuss programs and legislation to move the province forward.
Those meetings will be crucial in determining the future of the government. The new premier will have to listen to the opposition and find ways to bring them on board in setting new directions for the province without going to the polls.
If the new premier can be conciliatory and open to ideas from both opposition parties, then her or his government will have a longer period of time to govern.
The new premier may submit an agenda to the house with a budget. And if history is any reflection, the new leader immediately would go to the Lieutenant Governor and ask to have an election called.
Failing that, opposition leaders immediately will pounce of the new premier—and one can expect a vote of confidence to be held as soon as the legislature is called back into session.

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