Much more so than any of her provincial counterparts, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has been barrelling headlong into the federal election campaign as she seeks to derail the Conservatives' re-election efforts.
Ms. Wynne has endorsed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and is campaigning aggressively for him and his party in the long runup to the vote on Oct. 19.
Across the country, other premiers have been reluctant to involve themselves so overtly in the campaign.
As examples of a more low-key approach, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and B.C. Premier Christy Clark, both Liberals, are staying above the fray. However, their parties are not as closely tied to the federal party as are the Wynne Liberals. Spokesmen for Mr. Couillard and Ms. Clark say the premiers will work for their respective provinces.
In addition, conservative Saskatchewan Party Premier Brad Wall says he won't be out on the campaign trail, either, and an aide to NDP Premier Rachel Notley in Alberta said she would not be "following Ms. Wynne's example in any way."
The Ontario Premier is betting heavily on a risky strategy with her unabashed support for the Trudeau Liberals.
"It's pretty risky for both," said Darrell Bricker, Global CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, a polling firm. He says their polling shows Ms. Wynne is becoming controversial, and will be especially so if Ontario teachers strike in the fall just as the school year is beginning. The close ties will not help the Trudeau campaign, he suggested.
"For Wynne," said Mr. Bricker, "she could be backing someone who has a strong possibility of finishing third in the election. Not only will this raise questions about her judgment, but also about her priorities."
Not since former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams's "anyone but Conservative" campaign that he launched during the 2008 election have Canadians seen a premier so publicly involved in a federal race.
Mr. Williams's push was effective – Mr. Harper's Tories lost the three federal seats they held and were shut out of the province.
Ms. Wynne took her approach further Monday night in Toronto as she stood on stage with Mr. Trudeau. She targeted the NDP's Thomas Mulcair, who is leading just slightly in many public opinion polls.
Ms. Wynne called his plan to abolish the Senate and to provide $15-a-day childcare, "unworkable," "incomplete" or "impossible." For those, who missed the rally, she sent out a similarly pointed message on Twitter.
She will not back down from attacking both Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, who she has been feuding with over pensions, and Mr. Mulcair, as she works to replace the current government with one that is willing to co-operate with the country's most populous province, according to a senior Wynne official.
The Ontario Premier repeated her criticism of Mr. Mulcair's agenda Tuesday at a municipal leaders' conference in Niagara Falls, telling reporters her government needs a partner at the federal level with a "realistic plan." Mr. Mulcair's is not, she suggested, adding that Mr. Trudeau's is.
Ontario is in dire straits economically and Ms. Wynne needs an ally in Ottawa to push through her plan, including more infrastructure investment and a made-in-Ontario pension plan. Mr. Trudeau's policies, so far, line up well with Ms. Wynne's vision.
Her criticism of Mr. Mulcair struck a nerve with the NDP. Immediately, the federal party issued a statement from Ontario NDP caucus chair Malcolm Allen, who said he hopes the Premier "will rise above this partisanship and focus on fulfilling her responsibilities to the people of Ontario."
So far, this campaign has seen a lot of sniping among provincial and federal leaders. Last week, New Brunswick Liberal Premier Brian Gallant criticized Mr. Mulcair's position on the proposed Energy East pipeline. He initiated the criticism, accusing Mr. Mulcair of weakening his support for the proposed project. But, in an interview, he indicated he is not going so far as is Ms. Wynne. He said he will vote for Mr. Trudeau, but that's it. "My priority right now is running the province," he said.
Earlier this month, Mr. Harper took a shot at Ms. Notley, calling her new government a "disaster." She responded, saying his statement was an attack on all Albertans, who gave her a majority government. A senior Notley aide said in an interview that she will reply when attacked but not initiate it. In addition, Ms. Notley is not planning to actively campaign with any leader. Rather, a senior aide says that NDP premiers usually do one or two rallies during federal elections and Ms. Notley may do the same.
For his part, Mr. Wall would not comment explicitly on Ms. Wynne's strategy. "Premiers will do what they'll do, but we probably won't be taking that approach," he said.
Instead, he has written to party leaders asking for their positions on issues, including energy, the environment, equalization and crop science. He is interested, especially, to see where the parties stand on GMOs. He wants to see if any party has been disproportionately influenced by any groups opposed to GMOs, he said.
"We're going to look at all of the platforms and issues through the lens of what we think is in the best interests of Saskatchewan," said Mr. Wall.
At her party's annual general meeting last June, Ms. Wynne told supporters she would be "all in" for this election in favour of Mr.Trudeau and his team. But as Donald Savoie, Canada Research Chair in public administration and governance at the Université de Moncton, observes: "If Trudeau wins, there will be an IOU. If he doesn't, there will be no IOU and politicians do have long memories. Of that I am certain."