Kathleen Wynne gets mixed reviews in capital after historic victory
Kathleen Wynne has some work ahead of her when it comes to the provincial government's relationship with public school teachers.
Ontario's public school teachers have been in a heated labour dispute with the province since last fall when it introduced Bill 115, which froze wages, limited teachers' right to strike and, at the end of December, imposed contracts.
Now that Wynne is taking over for outgoing premier Dalton McGuinty, the architect of Bill 115, Ottawa elementary teachers' union leader Peter Giuliani said he's "cautiously optimistic" that the relationship will improve.
"It is a huge mess, and she has to actually recognize that," said the Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Teachers' Federation president. "You cannot destroy good will like this amongst people who have a long standing reputation for working extra, and then think it's gonna be business as usual."
The teachers want their collective bargaining rights returned, but Wynne has already said she has no intention of ripping up the new contracts the government imposed at the end of 2012.
While Wynne will face the ire of the province's teachers' unions, she might get a friendlier reception from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. Watson and Wynne were provincial cabinet colleagues when the mayor was the Liberal MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean.
Watson was unavailable to comment on Wynne's victory today but congratulated her in an online press release.
"I look forward to working with our new Premier to continue to get results for Ottawa residents," Watson said in a statement. "Our priorities will include continuing to improve transit, and working to secure predictable funding for infrastructure priorities like the Ottawa River Action Plan."