Kathleen Wynne is looking forward to more federal money to build transit, help to fight climate change and support for her new public pension plan, now that Justin Trudeau has ousted Stephen Harper.
The Ontario Premier, who campaigned hard for her fellow Liberal, said the morning after Mr. Trudeau won a majority government that the country's next prime minister would take "a new tone" in dealing with the provinces.
Where Mr. Harper frequently refused to meet with the premiers – and even went a full year without once sitting down with Ms. Wynne – Mr. Trudeau will co-operate with provincial and territorial leaders, she said.
"I have argued that on infrastructure, on retirement security, on climate change and on the need to invest now to create economic growth and jobs for today and tomorrow – we could be doing even better if we had a federal partner," Ms. Wynne said at Queen's Park Tuesday. "Last night, Canadians gave our government the real federal partner that we need in order to make progress together."
She added: "I'm grateful we're turning the page, and it's why I'm feeling positive and optimistic about the future."
Mr. Trudeau has pledged federal dollars to help fund Ms. Wynne's plan to electrify the GO regional rail network to run more trains, to work with the provinces to craft a plan to fight climate change and to expand the Canada Pension Plan.
The Premier said she spoke with Mr. Trudeau Monday night and they agreed to sit down for a longer discussion "very soon."
"Justin Trudeau and I had a very happy conversation last night. I telephoned him to congratulate him; we agreed that we would talk very, very soon and I look forward to that conversation. I look forward to him engaging with all of the premiers because it's something that has been lacking," she said.
Exactly how quickly Mr. Trudeau can help Ms. Wynne on some of these files is, however, an open question. Expanding the Canada Pension Plan, for instance, requires the agreement of a majority of Canada's provinces, excluding Quebec, which has its own separate pension plan.
Ms. Wynne said that, in the interim, Ontario will continue pushing forward with its own plan for a new public pension plan for people who do not have a plan through work. She said she would only scrap the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan if the rest of the country agrees to expand CPP.
Provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa said that the new federal government will at least help Ontario administer ORPP, which will make it easier to implement, something Mr. Harper had refused to do.
Ms. Wynne said she also looked forward to Mr. Trudeau taking part in the December climate-change talks in Paris.
Mr. Trudeau's campaign borrowed much of its staff and strategy from Ms. Wynne, who won a majority of her own last year largely by consolidating centrist and left-wing voters in Toronto and its suburbs. On election night, Mr. Trudeau dominated the same constituencies, sweeping every riding in Toronto proper.
But Ms. Wynne insisted there was no direct quid pro quo for her helping Mr. Trudeau. Instead, she said, he would simply work better with her and other premiers.
"Perhaps most of all, I'm looking forward to a new tone. Not just in federal-provincial relations, but in national leadership. This is where respect and values are so important," she said.
While she said she did not expect to see eye to eye with Mr. Trudeau on everything, she vowed things would never get frosty as they did with Mr. Harper.
"It is inevitable that we will not always agree on every issue … that is a healthy part of a healthy relationship. It is totally acceptable, and it is what must happen as partners try to work out challenges," she said. "But the key is when we disagree, it will be with mutual respect for each other and for our institutions. That's the healthy way that our system should work. I'm looking forward to returning to that."
The Premier did, despite everything, spare a few kind words for Mr. Harper in the Liberal love-fest.
"I want to thank Stephen Harper for his service to our country. Political leadership asks a lot of individuals and their families, and I wish Mr. Harper and his family all the very best for the future," she said. "Although I had my disagreements with Mr. Harper, they were motivated by what I believed was in the best interests of Ontario and its people."