Important tests ahead for Wynne

On Saturday, provincial Liberals picked Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne as their new party leader—and Ontario’s 25th premier once she officially is sworn in (likely sometime this week).
I would like to congratulate her on her hard-fought win.
Ms. Wynne inherits a very difficult situation from her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, including spending scandals at ORNGE air ambulance, the misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to cancel gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville in order to save Liberal seats during the last election, a failed energy strategy that has driven energy prices to a level most families no longer can afford, an unnecessary labour crisis with our province’s teachers, and years of neglect of northern and rural areas that has left our economy far behind other parts of the province.
Despite recently applauding the repeal of Bill 115 in the Toronto Star and publicly conceding that the bill was introduced to win the Kitchener-Waterloo byelection and secure a Liberal majority, we still should bear in mind that Ms. Wynne not only spoke in favour of the bill during debate, but voted to ensure its passage.
While I’m optimistic that we can work together, it gives pause when politicians have changes of heart after the damage is done.
Ms. Wynne must take steps to earn Ontarians’ trust and show that she is sincere in her promises to bring change to Queen’s Park.
How she opts to address the myriad of scandals and issues plaguing the province will serve as important first tests for the premier-elect. I would like to see her tackle these issues head-on to prove, without a doubt, that she will take this province in a very different direction from the partisanship and scandals that we’ve witnessed in recent years.
If she opts to dismiss the outstanding issues offhand as being those of another time or leader, they undoubtedly will remain distractions from many of the other important issues that we have been elected to address.
At the very least, Ms. Wynne already has stated that the legislature will reconvene on Feb. 19 and finally will allow us to get to the business of dealing with important issues such as creating jobs, building our economy, fixing health care, and lowering our hydro bills.
Until then, she has given herself ample time to work with opposition leaders to either forge a collective road ahead or a step towards a spring election.
We will know more once we return, when her government will present its Speech from the Throne, which will set the tone and direction of the spring session, and outline her priorities for the budget, which ultimately will hint at the fate of the new incarnation of the Liberal government.