Kathleen Wynne: 'No new money' for wages, salaries

Kathleen Wynne tells Metro Morning that cutting down Ontario's deficit remains a priority, even if it means tough negotiating with public sector unions.

'Everyone knows what the fiscal situation is,' Ontario premier tells Metro Morning

Kathleen Wynne says paring down the province's $12.5-billion deficit remains a priority, even if it means playing tough in negotiations with public sector unions. 'I'm adamant that we will have fair collective bargaining, but there is no new money and everyone knows what the fiscal situation is,' she said on Metro Morning Wednesday. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne appeared on CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Wednesday, less than a week after leading her Liberals to an unexpected majority win.

Host Matt Galloway asked the premier about everything from transit funding, to her plans to pare back the province's large deficit, and why her support didn't extend into most rural Ontario ridings.

Here's a sample of her comments, you can listen to the entire interview here:

On watching the election night results with her family:

"It was thrilling. Everyone was very excited. My Dad probably most of all. He was just thrilled."

On why voters didn't embrace Tim Hudak's call for extreme austerity measures and deep cuts to the civil service:

"People who believe that the province is capable of so much and people who are interested in building the province up were very dismayed by a vision that says we're going to start by firing 100,000 people. It did not resonate with people."

On the tone of the campaign that turned somewhat nasty in the last week despite promises to keep things civil.

"I'm not going pretend that we didn't have to make it clear what the choices were."

Wynne has said she will govern from the "activist centre." What does this mean?

"Government has to be a force for good in people's lives. There's a place for direct involvement of government … to help businesses expand to help create the jobs that we know are possible."

Liberal seats are again largely concentrated in Ontario's large cities, with few red ridings in rural areas of the province. Is this a problem? Are there two Ontarios?

"We have representation all over the province. No matter where your seats are, it's my responsibility as premier to govern the whole province."

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow says she would scrap the Scarborough subway extension and return to a light rail plan along that route. Where does Wynne stand on this?

"I'm not going to weigh in on the mayoralty race. I do hope we have a mayor in the city of Toronto and all the jurisdictions that are interested and willing to work with the province and not be in a conflict with them on transit."

Wynne has vowed to eliminate Ontario's $12.5 billion deficit by 2017-18. Is she willing to do this even if it means playing tough in contract negotiations with public sector unions?

"I respect the collective bargaining process and I'm adamant that we will have fair collective bargaining, but there is no new money and everyone knows what the fiscal situation is. We've made tough choices, we will continue to do that."

Does the majority mandate give you some comfort, given that you've essentially been running since winning the party leadership?

"Every day it feels like I have to earn this role. I have to live up to the expectations of the people of this province. Although it's a relief and it's great to be in this position, we know there's a lot of work ahead of us. We're very impatient to get moving."

Finally, you're now the first openly gay leader in a Commonwealth country. How happy are you this wasn't an issue during the campaign?

"It's a wonderful thing about this province, it's a wonderful thing about this country. This is a beautiful and inclusive place that will live in. Jane [Wynne's partner Jane Rounthwaite] was with me on the campaign bus and we were welcomed in communities in every part of this province and I think it speaks to who we are as Ontarians."