Calling being premier of Ontario the “greatest privilege of my life,” Kathleen Wynne stepped down as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party Thursday night following an election that ended her party’s 15-year reign and reduced it to a handful of ridings.
Speaking to a small but rowdy group of supporters inside York Mills Gallery — declaring “I am not going to cry” as she became emotional — Wynne said the process would now begin to select an interim leader.
“It is the right thing to do. There is another generation and I am passing the torch,” she said.
Having secured her Don Valley West riding, Wynne said she had called and congratulated premier elect, Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford, saying “I wish him well.”
Wynne left the stage on a hopeful note, proclaiming “we’re still standing” as the Elton John’s “I’m still standing” blasted from speakers.
“Although I have lost this election tonight, I have not in any way lost my passion for continuing this work — continuing to find ways to make it all work better,” Wynne said to cheers.
But it had indeed been “a difficult night,” as Wynne admitted.
Earlier in the evening, scores of bright red signs cheerfully instructed “re-elect Kathleen Wynne,” as the news trucks lined up ready to capture the results of Ontario’s 42nd election.
But inside York Mills Gallery, twinkly lights reflected off empty floors, the small room sparsely populated with Liberal party staffers, volunteers and reporters — a stark contrast to the horde gathering at the Toronto Congress Centre for Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford’s campaign party.
The campaign’s culmination couldn’t be described as a celebration.