Northerners part of historic vote – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – January 28, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – History was made on the weekend and the North was well represented. Timmins-James Bay Provincial Liberal Association president Gaetan Groleau was among the group of 15 from the riding (13 delegates and two ex officio members) at the party’s leadership convention in Toronto on the weekend. They witnessed the election of Kathleen Wynne as party leader.

“It was quite the experience,” Groleau told The Daily Press moments after arriving home Monday night. “It was a historic moment. We chose a leader and Premier as well.” The Timmins-James Bay delegates did their homework before heading south for the convention.

“All the candidates came to Timmins, so we had a chance to talk with them all,” Groleau said. “I felt all the candidates were really good, but three really stood out for Timmins. And Wynne was among the three favoured by the local delegates.

“She has been here many times and knows the area very well … and she plans on coming back,” he said. “Glen Murray was by her side, and I know they have some good proposals for Northern Ontario. “I know Charles Sousa favoured keeping the ONTC. Maybe she’ll listen.”

Groleau said just because a new Premier is in a minority government situation doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a snap election.

“When she was here, she did tell me that she would reach out to the NDP and try to work with them,” he explained. “That was a bit of a shocker.

“Once an election is held, the gloves will come off. But she plans on making this government work. Government has been partisan for a long time. This reaching across the table is new. I think it is refreshing.”

With Wynne at the helm, Groleau is hopeful his party can make some gains in Timmins-James Bay.

“I think we’re moving forward,” he said. “I remember her last comment, when she came back on stage after the final speeches. She said we’re not governing for Toronto but for the whole province.”

While Groleau has been the riding association for 13 years, this was the first convention he attend. He indicated there is a strong sense of unity in the party.

“It was an exciting weekend,” he said. “Like I said, all six candidates were really good. If she keeps them all in her cabinet, we’ll have a good, solid team. “I’m very hopeful for the future.”

Groleau isn’t the only political leader in Timmins with a renewed sense of hope on the provincial front.

Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren met with Wynne when her leadership campaign tour came to the city.

“I don’t think I was surprised with the result,” Laughren said. “And I offer my congratulations to her. Anyone who puts their position forward for a job like that … I have to give them a lot of credit.”

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