Kathleen Wynne’s moment

‘Can a gay woman win?’ Wynne asked Liberal delegates. ‘Not surprisingly, I have an answer to that question.’

by Aaron Wherry

Above is the speech that Kathleen Wynne gave in Toronto this morning on the way to becoming the next premier of Ontario—a rather remarkable political performance. Below are the words that will be remembered long after they were spoken.

I want to put something on the table: Is Ontario ready for a gay premier? You’ve heard that question. You’ve all heard that question, but let’s say what that actually means: Can a gay woman win? That’s what it means.

Not surprisingly, I have an answer to that question. When I ran in 2003, I was told that the people of North Toronto and the people of Thorncliffe Park weren’t ready for a gay woman. Well, apparently they were.

You know, there was a time, not that long ago, when most of us in this leadership race would not have been deemed suitable. We would have been deemed unsuitable. A Portugese-Canadian, an Indo-Canadian, an Italian-Canadian, female, gay, Catholic. Most of us could not have hoped to stand on this stage. But the province has changed. Our party has changed.

I do not believe that the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, sexual orientation, colour or religion. I don’t believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts. They judge us on our merits, on our abilities, on our expertise, on our ideas. Because that is the way everyone deserves to be judged. That is how we want our children, our grandchildren, our nieces, our nephews to be judged. All of us want to be judged on those things.

So when it is time for me to take us into the next general election, I will do it on the basis of our merits. I will do it on the basis of our successes. I will take our record to the people of Ontario.




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Kathleen Wynne’s moment

  1. Hurrah for Kathleen Wynne. She’s positive and inspiring and I’m glad she won.

    • Her first act as premier should be to recall the legislature. The Liberal party is playing with fire indulging in the abuse of proroguing Parliament. They are setting the stage for a Hudak fake majority.

      I don’t care if the leader is female or gay or whatever. What’s most important is turning the page on McGuinty’s tailspin into Harper-like corruption.

  2. Great message, Sound like a good leader.

  3. If she’s half as good as she sounds, Ontario is a lucky province indeed.

  4. Re: “I do not believe that the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, sexual orientation, colour or religion. I don’t believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts.”

    But the government judges on the basis of religion. They hold prejudice. Maybe Wynne will end that. One can only hope.
    First order of business should be to merge Ontario’s public and Catholic school systems into one system for each official language. No more discrimination against non-Catholic faiths. No more wasteful overlap and duplication in the school system.

    • It’s in the Constitution.

      • So what? Slavery was once allowed and women were once forbidden to vote. Why, in the 21st century, should Ontario Catholics continue to enjoy a unique privilege that was never intended to be a privilege, but only keep mutually intolerant 19th century Catholics and Protestants apart?
        The Constitution can easily and quickly be changed, just as it was in Quebec and Newfoundland when they modernized their school systems by eliminating denominational schools and creating one strong truly public school system for each official language.

        • It’s a historical leftover we’re currently stuck with.

          Ontario is about 50/50 on the two religions….not as easy a vote as you think.

          • Ontario was 34% Catholic in the 2001 Census — the last long form Census data available that included religious data. Quebec and Newfoundland were 83% and 37% Catholic respectively. Half of Ontario Catholics already support one school system according to polls taken by both public and Catholic teachers unions.

            Plus, there is no vote other than on a motion in our legislature. The government of the day simply passes a motion and asks Ottawa to rubber stamp. It is not like other constitutional changes in that only the two parties need agree as it only affects one province (Ontario).
            It is dead easy to do. We just need a government committed to fairness and fiscal responsibility — not one faith supremacy before and under the law.

          • I said 50/50 on the two religions….there are others you know.

            I doubt any govt….certainly not a minority one….would try changing it without a public vote.

          • And I was saying you are wrong. Ontario is only 34% Catholic, less than the other two provinces that nuked public funding for Catholic schools. Those governments didn’t fall — ours wouldn’t either. People would appreciate that a wise government finally rid the province of an utterly non-essential segregated school system in order to preserve and protect truly essential services. And Protestant isn’t a religion — it is a term for a lot of non-Catholic Christian denominations.

          • OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE EITHER CATHOLIC OR PROTESTANT….50% ARE CATHOLIC

          • I GUESS NORMAL TEXT IS HARD FOR YOU TO READ? WHAT ABOUT THE ROUGHLY 30% OF THE POPULATION THAT ARE NOT CATHOLIC OR PROTESTANT? NOT IMPORTANT IN YOUR POLITICAL CALCULUS?

          • I believe that’s what I’ve just tried to get across to you.

          • It would be easy to do for a majority government; maybe not so easy for a minority government. A lot of other factors that really shouldn’t affect the decision come into play in such a situation – will the other parties support such a move? Will it alienate more voters or gain more support (important given the ever-present threat of election)?

            I wouldn’t count on any move on this front while we have a minority government.

        • Get the fedreal governmenta nd every single other proviincial premier on board and maybe there will be talk. Until that happens, it will just be making enemies.

          • Regarding other provinces, it is none of their business and they would not be involved. Just as was the case with Quebec and Newfoundland, in matters regarding educational provisions in the Constitution only Ottawa and the province requesting the change are involved.

          • The Feds and other provinces don’t come into this. This is not a constitutional amendment that would require the approval of other provinces and the Feds will acquiesce if the province asks. Though it was a very controversial move in NL at the time, the Feds went with the request from the NL govt without any issues. And in NL there was, technically, NO public system; the government footed the bills but all the schools were run by Christian denominational bodies.

  5. Why does Wynne need to keep bring up the fact that she is gay…people have known this for years. She should concentrate on the mess Ontario is in.

    • She can’t concentrate on the mess in Ontario, it has nothing to do with Ontario. It’s all about her.

      In only 8 minutes of the above video speech she referered to herself about 50 times. She’s another in a long list of Liberal party idiots..

    • Ont isn’t in a mess, but Alberta certainly is.

      • Yeah, Alberta is supposed to be “booming.” Harper turned the entire Canadian economy upside-down to found it on the Alberta bitumen sands. Yet despite all that, Alberta is struggling and has a massive deficit. If Alberta can’t even stay above water, the rest of Canada is surely doomed by Harper’s “Economic Action Plan.”

        • I can’t believe Alberta has been this stupid….again!

          What does it take anyway??

          PS I believe you mean Harper’s ‘Economic Asinine Plan’

        • Ron, please explain exactly how “Harper turned the entire Canadian economy upside-down to found it on the Alberta bitumen sands.” Are you saying Harper invented the oil sands?

          • He didn’t invent them but he does seem to be putting most of his eggs into that basket, and ignoring the rest of the country.

          • You mean like when his government spent multi-billions of dollars bailing out Ontario’s automobile industry? I guess that amounted to ignoring Ontario? Please explain.

        • Well Ron, I think we are still in better shape than Ontario even if we do have the most ridiculous provincial government ever. I myself warned people of their bad track record around the time of the last election. Meanwhile Emily and her friends were drooling all over Alison Redford. Oh well, let’s look on the bright side. If that Dutch Disease thing is real, you guys in Ontario should bounce right back. If it is all BS, we all will be taking a bit of bath.

          • Dutch Disease means an overvalued currency is killing value-added exports (by making them too expensive.) According to the OECD, the proper value of the Canadian dollar is 80 cents US, based on PPP. So the dollar would need to fall back to that level to eliminate the Dutch Disease. (It has nothing to do with Alberta’s finances.)

          • Currency devaluation: the left-wing panacea. I mean, look at the miracles it’s done for Mexico. And Argentina. And so on.

      • Here come the diversionary tactics. We have an article on Ontario and Emily switches gears to Alberta. What do you know Ron follows her lead. Too funny. Alberta may be struggling but I think Ontario is going to get their credit rating adjusted….or is that just a nasty rumor Emily?

    • It’s going to come up simply because she is gay. There are those who will try to make it an issue. So she is wise to get ahead of the curve and try to point out – as she does here – that it really is a non-issue.

      Read her comments again – she is saying her sexuality, gender or religion should not factor into voter decisions; only her performance should. Which is exactly right – and how I’ll base my vote.

  6. I am happy Ontario Liberals chose Wynne as their leader.

    In 10 years when we look back at this time, the Wynne leadership may be the point where it is decided that Ontario was saved from economic oblivion.

    No doubt Pupatello or Kennedy may have appealed to enough voters to somehow continue as Premier with the spendy dippers propping them up.

    Wynne is so unappealing to voters that her short stint as premier will guarantee a Conservative majority government later this year.

    That is the only thing that will keep Ontario from bankruptcy.

    • What ridiculous neo-con propaganda…

      • Ron Waller is real good with numbers.
        Rather than name-calling Ron could enlighten us how a Wynne government propped up by the Dippers would change the course of the past 10 years of feel-good liberal government where the provincial debt has doubled.
        The Conservatives are the only Party to express a real interest in getting a grip on the provinces finances.
        The voters are about to kick out the liberals.

        • The Conservatives led by Hudak? Try convincing us?

          • In spite of Hudak, they will still win a majority—the voters need some sense of control of spending—none with McGuinty, none with Wynne and certainly none with Horvath—sit back and enjoy !

          • And definitely none with Hudak. Oh sure he’ll mouth the words – all conservatives do – but historically they have very rarely lived up to their fiscal promises. Conservatism is about social, not fiscal, restraint – despite their claims. Their policies always result in tax boons for business and the rich; reduced services for the rest of us; and debt debt debt.

            There is nothing new or original in Hudak’s policies that would indicate a break with conservative fiscal policies – which means there will be no fiscal recovery under his governance that wouldn’t happen under another party (and in fact any recovery would likely be in spite of rather than because of his policies).

            The Liberals are spent and I’m not sure Wynne can turn that around – but I’m not seeing any great option with the other two parties either. That’s why we have a minority government now – and I predict we’ll be stuck with a minority government, regardless of which party wins, after the next election as well. Hudak may win, but a majority? I highly doubt it.

        • Neo-cons are the worst fiscal managers. Reagan, Bush Jr., etc. Harper recklessly cut taxes by $44.4B (according to his 2009 budget) turning a $14B budget surplus into a $30B deficit.

          Mike Harris is the main reason why ON has a big deficit. He left a $5.6B structural deficit caused by reckless tax cuts and brought in a law against raising taxes. McGuinty should’ve reversed Harris’s tax cuts for the rich, but instead brought in a regressive health tax and the Harper Sales Tax which was included on hydro and home heating. McGuinty is also neo-con light, bringing in big corporate tax cuts, plus the pay-as-you-go eco-tax.

          Hudak already has a bunch of tax cuts planned that will make the deficit worse. Of course, these neo-cons peddle the nonsense that tax cuts pay for themselves. Clearly, they do not.

          BTW, only Liberals and Democrats were fiscally responsible in North America. The Chretien Liberals turned a $43B deficit to a string of $10B surpluses. Clinton balanced the books in the US. David Peterson balanced the budget in ON.

          • Well, I may have to take that bit back about Ron being good with numbers.

            I asked him to show us what plans a minority Liberal government supported by the NDP might get a grip on the provinces finances. Unable to respond with some numbers ( and he is real good with numbers ) Ron gave me the same old socialist propaganda about bad Reagan, bad Harris , bad Harper, —oh and worst of all bad tax cuts—-those pesky tax cuts—-damn. we always knew the way to prosperity was to give more money to governments and let them spend it—and more–as they please.

            Listen those leaders you mentioned were put in power when liberal governments had to be reined in by the electorate—and it`s obvious to me it`s about to happen in On. and if you are really good with numbers you`ll agree with me.

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    • Ladies and gentlemen – we have a weiner!

  8. Wynne is definitely a strong public speaker, well articulated and relaxed. And the runner up was a good public speaker as well.

    I have no problem with the fact that Wynne openly declares herself a lesbian and I don`t think most Ontarian would object to that either. But there is another side to this.

    During the upcoming election time, one would hope that the voter is not being pushed into voting for her on the grounds that if they don`t it would be considered prejudice.

    In other words: here`s to hoping that the lesbian aspect will not be used as a shameful aspect, namely when you won`t vote for Wynne you will be shamed into being considered a homophobic. Here`s to hoping that Wynne and the Ontario Liberals will understand the difference between being open about the subject of homosexuality or being sneaky about it.

    Time will tell.

    • That’s not the message I get and certainly not how I would base my vote. On the other hand, any politician from any other party who tries to play for the homophobe vote will definitely lose mine. They will all be wise to steer well clear of that issue and focus on policy.

  9. Geez. New Brunswick was ready for a gay premier nearly a half century ago. This is nothing new. Welcome to the 20th century, Ontario.

    Why is this being trumpeted as some sort of NEW accomplishment?

    • Because if something hasn’t happened in Ontario yet, then it hasn’t really happened.

    • I didn’t know Hatfield ever came out?

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