Wynne-ing is better than losing.
A triumphant Premier Kathleen Wynne met with her new and larger Liberal caucus at Queen’s Park for the first time since last Thursday’s surprise majority victory.
“We took our plan to the people of Ontario and the people of Ontario said: ‘Move Ontario forward.’ That is the message that we got last week,” Wynne told her cheering new MPPs.
“They asked for a government that is accountable and open and I would suggest that they asked for a government that is more accountable and more open and we have committed to doing that,” she said, in an oblique reference to the scandals that plagued her controversial predecessor Dalton McGuinty.
Despite the best efforts of Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, Ontarians did not make the election a referendum on McGuinty.
Instead, Wynne’s Liberals won 58 seats in the 107-member house to 29 for the Conservatives and 21 for the New Democrats.
At dissolution last month, the Grits had held 48 seats, including the speaker of the legislature, the Tories had 37, the NDP had 21, and there was one vacancy.
Wynne said the Liberals now occupy “the activist centre that I believe in and that I believe we can lead from.”
But she cautioned against triumphalism from her colleagues.
“It’s not like 100 per cent of the people of Ontario voted for us and so we have a lot of work to do to keep the trust of the people who have vested their trust in us and to earn the trust of everyone.”
Tuesday’s 20-minute Liberal love-in was a contrast to the Tories’ agonizing three-and-a-half-hour bloodletting in their caucus meeting Monday.
Some PC MPPs want Hudak, who has vowed to remain as leader until a successor is chosen, to quit immediately so the party can take a new direction.
They blame him for the campaign pledge to slash 100,000 public service jobs over four years, which was a huge factor in Tories’ loss.