TORONTO - Ontario's Liberals on Saturday chose a former Cabinet minister to become the province's first female premier and first openly gay leader of a Canadian province.

In her acceptance speech as the new provincial Liberal Party leader, Kathleen Wynne, 59, a former Ontario education minister, thanked her partner, Jane, for her support during a three-month campaign. Ontario was one of the first Canadian provinces to allow same-sex marriage.

Wynne's victory means Canada's four most powerful provinces will all be led by women. British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec already have female premiers. Women are also at the helm in the Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador and in the thinly populated Arctic territory of Nunavut.

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