Issue 29, Volume 85
Jan. 30, 2013
In choosing Don Valley West Member of Provincial Parliament Kathleen Wynne over
former Windsor MPP Sandra Pupatello, not only did Ontario Liberal Party delegates send the first female premier to Queen’s Park, they also elected the first openly gay politician to lead the province’s legislature as well.
Talk about a big deal.
Following a full day of voting on Saturday, it was on the third ballot, when by all accounts Sandra Pupatello was in the lead, that Charles Sousa and then Gerard Kennedy pledged their delegates to vote for Wynne.
Delegates are not bound to vote any which way, but Sousa and Kennedy’s delegates remained tme to their word and voted for Wynne on the third ballot.
Wynne was one of two front runners including Pupatello, having served as a school board trustee before provincial politics and holding major positions in Premier Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet: education, transportation and aboriginal affairs.
Pupatello, who established herself as the economic candidate, has more experience in politics and has held more major cabinet positions than Wynne: Community and Social Services, Education, Economic Development and Trade, Women’s Issues, and International Trade and Investment. In elevating Wynne to the premiership, OLP delegates not only placed the first female and first openly LGBT woman in office, but also added the sixth female premier to the entire country.
In one night, Ontario became a bit more progressive, and Canada as a whole began to reflect a more equitable gender distribution. For too long politics has been referred to as an ‘old boys club,’ and it makes me proud to know that in one night Ontario dramatically changed to reflect a bit more diversity.
In due time a provincial election will be called, and Ontarians will be faced with a question which they must take very seriously: are they ready to elect an openly LGBT female to Queen’s Park?
While the decision has been made by OLP delegates just days ago, soon enough this question will be asked to the electorate. While politics will undoubtedly help sway people’s votes, so too will this question as people stare down at their ballot on election day.
Jon Liedtke was the Features and Opinions Editor, Advertising Manager and Deficit Consultant at the UWindsor Lance.