WINNIPEG – Kathleen Wynne wonders whether a man would have faced the same kind of vicious attack that was aimed at her by a member of Alberta’s Wildrose party.
The Ontario premier says she accepts the Opposition party’s apology but suggests a man might not have been treated the same way.
Wynne was a visitor in the Alberta legislature Thursday, at the invitation of Premier Rachel Notley, when Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt launched an attack on her economic management. He called Ontario a fiscal basket case.
Later, Fildebrandt appeared to personally insult the openly gay premier when he responded to a commenter on his Facebook page who congratulated him for “telling the truth about Mr. Wynne or whatever the hell she identifies as.”
The MLA said he was “proud” to have the commenter as a constituent.
That earned him a suspension from the Wildrose caucus, although Fildebrandt contended he’d misread the supporter’s comment and had not intended a personal attack on the premier’s sexual orientation.
“Yes, I accept the apology,” Wynne said Saturday during a session on women in politics at the federal Liberal party’s national convention.
“But, you know, I think it was an interesting confluence of things. There’s a woman premier in Alberta, I’m there as a woman, we’re talking about climate change.
“And I think the attack, the viciousness of the attack, had a particular quality to it. So, I will just say we need to pay attention to that.”
Wynne acknowledged that there are “vicious women in politics” as well but she “suspects” a female politician wouldn’t have launched the same kind of attack.