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Province could get first female premier

(Left-right) Ontario Liberal leadership candidates Kathleen Wynne and Sandra Pupatello

TORONTO, Ont. – With two women leading the race to replace Premier Dalton McGuinty, Ontario could get its first female premier.

If Sandra Pupatello or Kathleen Wynne win the Ontario Liberal leadership vote this weekend, Ontario could join four other provinces and one territory that are governed by a woman.

University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman says there’s been a dramatic advance of women in politics.

“Essentially, revolutionary advance in the last 40 years in Canadian society,” he said.

“It’s also reflective of broader trends in western societies.”

Some suggest choosing a new leader is a way to distance the Liberal party from some of the unpopular moves by McGuinty.

But Wiseman warns that a female leader won’t mean a clean slate.

“Having a new leader — any leader — doesn’t swipe the slate clean completely,” he said.

“It goes part of the way.”

“It’s not just a matter of choosing a woman, it matters which woman you choose.”

Wiseman said Wynne is viewed as entrenched in McGuinty’s government while Pupatello has a bit more distance from his policies.

He added that he sees Pupatello as the frontrunner.

Wiseman said the difference between this weekend’s convention and the one that selected McGuinty is that “they are now selecting the premier, back then they were selecting a leader of the opposition.”

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