A Cornwall city councillor with ties to the Ontario Liberal party will find herself rubbing shoulders with some influential political-types in the weeks ahead.
In a move that took her by surprise, Bernadette Clement has been named to newly-elected Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne's transition team.
She joins the likes of Greg Sorbara (former finance minister), Lyn McLeod (former party leader) and David Crombie (former MP) among others who will help Wynne shape her new government.
Clement and her counterparts have already met once (she participated via conference call from Cornwall) and she said Wynne is open to suggestions as she sets herself up to govern the province.
"What she's looking for is guidance, advice and input," said Clement in an interview. "People are coming in with all these different views and suggestions."
Clement said her time as a ciity councillor and also her job as a legal aid lawyer are helping her to fill a specific need.
"(Wynne is) really big on social assistance review," said Clement. "She reallly wants to listen...and she wants to hear what we have to say during our own conversations amongst ourselves."
Wynne has indicated she sought out a broad cross-section of individuals to fill the transition team.
“To build a strong, fair and healthy Ontario, I’m going to need the best advice possible,” Wynne said in a statement. “I am honoured and grateful to have such a smart, dedicated, diverse and principled group to help begin this important work.”
Clement recently co-chaired the leadership debates that eventually led to Wynne's election as Liberal party leader.
Lt.-Gov. David Onley is expected to anoint Wynne as the next premier of Ontario in the coming days. Wynne has indicated she wants to reopen the legislature by the middle of February.
She replaces outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty, who abruptly retired from provincial politics last year.