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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne during the First Ministers' meeting in Ottawa, Nov. 23, 2015.CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told the crowd at her annual fundraising dinner Wednesday night that she wanted to clarify why she so strongly endorsed Justin Trudeau in last fall's election.

"It was not so I can call in chits, as some have so crassly asserted," she said. "Ontario is the biggest net contributor to Confederation. That's not going to change. I endorsed Justin Trudeau because we both understand that Canada's economy is best served by co-operation – partnership between governments."

The Premier's stance in supporting Mr. Trudeau was controversial at the time, and a gamble had he not won. Her government's relationship with Stephen Harper's government was dysfunctional; the two barely communicated.

Despite the new partnership with Ottawa, there was not a huge amount for Ontario in the federal government's budget, which was delivered last week.

Ms. Wynne was speaking at the Heritage Dinner, her party's annual fundraising event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. More than 1,500 people attended, raising $2.5-million; a table for 10 cost $16,000, or $18,000 for a table in the inner circle closer to the Premier.

There was no mention in her speech about promises to reform political financing. However, in a scrum with reporters after her speech, Ms. Wynne was asked about the fundraising issue.

She said that the model her government is looking at is the federal one that bans all corporate and union donations. Ms. Wynne would not say whether it would include per vote subsidies for political parties as was the plan when the federal Liberal government first reformed political financing laws. She said her plan will be revealed in the fall – and be in place before the election in 2018.

Earlier this week she told reporters that changes were coming this fall as a result of newspaper stories about her party's fundraising practices. The Globe and Mail reported, for example, about a $7,500 fundraiser promoted by one of the banks that ran the privatization of Hydro One. Those who purchased tickets were given access to two senior ministers – of Energy and Finance.

Instead, her speech was a breezy, wide-ranging, mostly self-congratulatory speech about her government's achievements nearly halfway through its mandate, including the partial sale of Hydro One, infrastructure investment, the cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas, retirement security and the new Ontario Student Grant, which will allow some students to qualify for free tuition.

Talking about the province's $5.7-billion deficit, Ms. Wynne even managed to work in a reference to the two baby giant pandas born at the Toronto Zoo. "So while some want to characterize Ontario's deficit as the elephant in the room, I think a panda is the more appropriate metaphor," she said. "Truly, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue were adorable. But the pandas are leaving Ontario in 2018, and in 2017-18 our deficit will be gone, too."

In addition to the chronology of accomplishments, she referred to the positive new relationship with the Liberal government in Ottawa. "In all seriousness, I did ask Santa for infrastructure this year," she joked. "But it was our federal partner – not Santa – who actually came through with $1.5-billion for transit in Ontario."

Her government plans to invest $160-billion in infrastructure over 12 years.

She criticized the previous federal government. "It's no secret that, until recently, Ontario's economic plan was at cross purposes with the policies of Canada's federal government," she said. "While the last federal government practised austerity and used ideology and a global commodity boom to mask the huge structural challenges Canada needs to overcome, we have taken a drastically different approach in Ontario."

That approach, she said, is one of promoting a number of different strengths, including people's talents and skills, diversified industries and competitive taxes.