Fashioning a cabinet

OK, first let’s get the embarrassing part out of the way. My candidate for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Sandra Pupatello, as named in my fearless New Year’s predictions, did not win. Kathleen Wynne did and, in the early going, I am impressed with her performance. A bus bringing thirty delegates committed to Charles Sousa at the leadership convention was delayed. She told thirty of her own supporters to strip off their badges and go sit in the Sousa section so it wouldn’t look empty and cause him embarrassment. To be sure, Sousa supported her on the second ballot and helped secure her victory, but that was a classy act by candidate Wynne.

I like what appears to be Premier Wynne’s consensual style. She has already reached out to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, farmers, and teachers. I also like the appointment of Glen Murray as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Liz Sandals in Education, Deb Matthews as Deputy Premier, and Sousa – a former small businessman and Royal banker – as Finance Minister. Whether Tim Hudak can beat this bunch, as I also predicted, remains to be seen, but the Liberals are off to a good start although even more numerically challenged in the Legislature than with the previous slim-pickings margin.

During her first press conference yesterday Premier Wynne talked about a “fair society” and we can all salute that. The phrase was reminiscent of Pierre Trudeau’s “just society” that led to the crowning glory of the Charter and patriating the Constitution. History will decide if Premier Wynne can achieve anything as significant.

Meanwhile, there are some who are out of step with the times. Despite the fact that 87 per cent of Canadians live in a province or territory headed by a woman, KISS radio morning man Maurie Sherman asked at yesterday’s news conference, “All we see you in is pantsuits. How will you ‘win’ us over in the fashion department?” I can only hope the questions become more pertinent and less gender-based. Otherwise, we’re doomed to a silly season where paltry trumps policy.

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