THE BLOG

A Winning Smile For Wynne in Ontario

10/23/2015 01:01 EDT | Updated 10/23/2016 05:12 EDT

There is no doubt that one of the biggest winners in the federal election was Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Having spent much political capital in the face of much criticism, Wynne dove head first into partisan politicsal in her support of Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau. Some said that she was hurting Trudeau because of her presumed sagging popularity at home. Others argued that, as Premier, she was taking a big risk of alienating the other parties should they have won.

So who is smiling now? As I alluded to in a column I wrote for The Huffington Post back in September, the Trudeau win has elevated Wynne's national stature and has moved her from the no call list to speed dial in the PMO. More than that, Trudeau can help Wynne smooth out some difficult challenges.

Let's start with the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. ORPP development has proven to be a very tough job, even in the hands of the very able Minister Mitzie Hunter. If Trudeau supplements CPP, the ORPP becomes less important and Ontario Liberals can take credit for putting the issue on the front burner in Ottawa. At minimum, the jurisdictions can work together on reform.

Trudeau also has played the infrastructure tune in harmony with Wynne. In fact, both ran on similar platforms: some debt to fix the infrastructure deficit. This has proven to be popular -- especially among gridlock- trapped commuters and movers of commercial goods. It also resonates with anyone who has experienced flooding because of ancient sewer pipes and many other consequences of allowing infrastructure to erode.

Cap- and- Trade implementation will benefit from a Liberal majority and this time it's Wynne who will help Trudeau build his environmental credentials. Ontario has been deep in consultations with industry on implementing Cap- and- Trade. On Nov. 30, Ontario and Canada can go hand-in-hand to the Conference of the Parties Climate Change meeting in Paris.

The love-in is not much of a stretch on the environment file as it played an important role in the Liberal election platform and besides, there is much cross pollination between the provincial and national parties. The most notable is presumed Trudeau Principal Secretary Gerald Butts who lead the World Wildlife Fund of Canada and also played a key role under then- Premier Dalton McGinty.

In addition, the Trudeau victory will satisfy Wynne on a personal level. Since she has been Premier, Wynne has continually expressed solidarity with First Nations. Almost every speech begins with recognition of the traditional territories on which the event is being held. For example: "I want to begin with the acknowledgement that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinaabe Peoples, and by recognizing the long history of First Nations and Métis Peoples in Ontario, and showing my respect to them." Wynne's passion transcends her own jurisdictional responsibilities and she will want and no doubt get action on issues such as missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

On the subjects of pure politics, Wynne forces were very helpful to Trudeau. She had an experienced team at the ready to be lent to the national campaign. Anyone who witnessed the two elections would have recognized similar themes.

Further, the army of organizers equipped with riding specific data was important in the ground war. No doubt, when needed, the favour will be re-gifted with some enhancements in regions like Niagara and the North, areas where Trudeau captured seats, which but have been elusive for Wynne.

And who knows - maybe the two fitness buffs will even conduct their meetings over a light jog, a known pastime of Wynne. For the sake of both governments, one can only hope they stay out of the boxing ring.