By Katie Raskina and Charlotte Arnold
Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau was given a hero’s welcome by a partisan crowd at Queen’s Park where he arrived Tuesday to meet with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
The two leaders spoke for a half-hour in Wynne’s office before attending the funeral of Ken Taylor, the former ambassador to Iran. This was the first official meeting Trudeau attended outside Ottawa since his party won a majority government in last week’s federal election.
When he arrived at Queen’s Park, he greeted Wynne with a warm embrace in front of reporters, the Ontario cabinet and most of the Liberal caucus.
Wynne was a vocal Trudeau booster throughout the campaign and the two appeared together several times. Her decision to enter into the federal fray drew criticism from the provincial opposition who accused her of putting the province’s relationship with a potential Harper government in jeopardy.
Those concerns were rendered moot with the Liberal victory, and Trudeau’s appearance at Wynne’s side is seen as an expression of gratitude for the embattled premier’s support.
The pair didn’t take any questions from the media, but Trudeau said the two leaders had a “great conversation” and that he was looking forward to working with Wynne.
According to a statement, the two leaders said they talked about infrastructure, economic growth, climate change, First Nations relations and retirement security.
“In addition to working together on these and other issues, we look forward to a new and positive relationship between the new Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario — one based on mutual respect, common goals and shared values, and one that is committed to making progress on the things that are important to the people we serve,” the statement said.
In his campaign, Trudeau promised to work more closely with the provinces, signalling an end to the Conservative era.
Outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper famously refused to attend Council of the Federation meetings — a gathering of the nation’s premiers— and notoriously refused to meet Wynne for a 396 day stretch in 2014 and 2015.
The Liberals painted Ontario red on election night, winning 80 of the province’s 121 federal seats. Trudeau’s party swept downtown Toronto, winning in all 25 of the city’s ridings.
No word yet on the Liberal platform promises to exempt students from repaying student loans until they earn $25,000 a year, and to increase the Canada Student Grant for low-income students.
Trudeau will be sworn in as prime minister Nov. 4.
This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Oct. 28, 2015.