Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #4, Kathleen Wynne
4Kathleen Wynne declared that she would govern from an “activist centre” when she was elected in 2014. Two and a half years later, she has delivered on that promise, demonstrating a commitment to her progressive agenda, even in the face of disastrous poll numbers. She refused to backtrack on her sex-ed curriculum despite earning the enmity of a vocal voting bloc. She achieved near gender equality in cabinet even though it increased membership to a record size and played right into the big-government stereotype. She passed a cap-and-trade plan to help control climate change despite ticking off business owners. She took heat for selling off a chunk of Hydro One (but was vindicated in part when she announced the deficit forecast for 2015-2016 was $5.7 billion, some $2.8 billion better than expected). Amid all this general obstinance, Wynne still showed a willingness to listen to her critics: when the BLM movement took its protest to the steps of Queen’s Park, she walked out of the legislature and met them face to face on the lawn—and successfully encouraged the mayor to follow her lead. The polls say the Conservative party has a shot at a majority if they get a new leader. If that comes to pass, Wynne will have gone down swinging.
Come spring, Wynne plans to knock another big promise off her list with Ontario’s first balanced budget in a decade.