MONTREAL — Kathleen Wynne has been elected as Ontario's premier by the province's Liberals, making history as the province's first female premier and Canada's first openly gay premier.
Wynne beat out Sandra Pupatello to take the seat in the third ballot race by 1,150 votes to Pupatello's 866, CBC News reported.
"I do not believe that the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, sexual orientation, color or religion," Wynne said in her victory speech, UPI reported. "I don't believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts. They judge us on our merits."
Wynne had pointed out that the race to replace long-time Premier Dalton McGuinty was full of minority candidates, including Portuguese-Canadian, Indo-Canadian, Italian-Canadian, female, gay and Catholic politicians, CBC News reported.
"I think Kathleen herself addressed it quite eloquently in her speech when she pointed out that it wasn't that long ago that many of the candidates in this race would not be described as 'acceptable,'" said Government House Leader John Milloy.
Pupatello, who was right behind Wynne in the race, also acknowledged in her concession speech that the competition had been one for the history books.
“I had a ball. We had the guys on the run and Kathleen and I were in front from the beginning," the 50-year-old contender said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “Tonight we made history. Tonight’s final vote had two strong women on the ballot. We are not about the left or the right. We are about going forward, and that is what we are going to do.”
A former community activist, a school trustee, a cabinet minister, Wynne's election marks the Liberal Party's shift to left-of-center.
She said she hopes to end the “rancor and viciousness” that held the minority Liberal government back under outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty, the Toronto Star reported.
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