Ascending In Ontario, Kathleen Wynne Becomes Canada’s First LGBT Premier

Wynne2

Kathleen Wynne helped Canada hit two milestones yesterday when she became the new premier of Ontario. She's both the province's first female premier and the entire Canadian nation's first openly gay premier.

"The province has changed, our party has changed," Wynne, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, said. "I do not believe that the people of Ontario … hold that prejudice in their hearts."

Here's more from her speech, about the long road she's walked:

Let's put something on the table: Is Ontario ready for a gay premier? You've heard that question.

Let's say what that actually means: Can a gay woman win?

When I ran in 2003, I was told that the people of North Toronto and Thorncliffe Park weren't ready to elect a gay woman.

Well, apparently they were.

You know, there was a time, not that long ago. When most of us in this race would have been deemed unsuitable, A Portuguese-Canadian, an Indo-Canadian, Italian-Canadian, female, gay, Catholic – Most of us could not have hoped to stand on this stage, but this province has changed.

Our party has changed.

I don't believe the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, color or sexual orientation – 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 how everyone deserves to be judged. That is how we want our children, our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews to be judged.

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, based on our success.

Wynne is more than a politician who overcame homophobia to win her position. She's also a mother of three, speaks four languages, holds two master's, one in linguistics and the other in adult education, and also studied meditation at Harvard, which sounds like something every politicians, gay or straight, should do…

Watch Wynne's speech, AFTER THE JUMP

Comments

  1. andrew says

    That’s one big step forward, but two steps back for Toronto after we got our buffoon mayor thrown back at us by the courts that overturned the conflict of interest verdict. The new executive committee only has one female councillor on it by default when another male declined the nomination. Toronto likes to think it’s a world-class city but it suffers from major inferiority complex and the voters can’t seem to elect a proper mayor to save their lives.

  2. DALI says

    @JON,

    Get your facts straight. André Boisclair was never Premier of Québec. At best, he was the leader of his political party.

    Also, K. Wynne might now be the first openly LGBT Premier of a Canadian province but remember that she WASN’T ELECTED by the voters of Ontario. She was elected by her political party to become leader and thus automatically becomes the one who replaced her resigning predecessor.

    Just like André Boislcair failed miserably with voters in a Québec election, the people of Ontario might not be as ready as she thinks to elected a gay Premier, yet alone a female one.

  3. ratbastard says

    She DID NOT win a popular election for premier…she won the Liberal Party caucus [do Canadians use the word caucus?] ballot on the 3rd try to succeed the outgoing Ontario Liberal Party premier retired after his scandal plagued government could go on no longer. Whoever won the party leadership would by default become premier, and MS. Wynne won it. In other words, the Ontario Liberal Party faithful elected her to succeed Dalton McGuinty as premier to finish his term. Naturally, the party insider faithful are very ‘progressive’.

    I don’t know when Ontario holds general elections again, but my understanding from people I’ve spoken with there is the Liberals are doing poorly. But the conservative tories have also had scandal plagued governments in Ontario in the recent past.

    =============

    Now in Texas, in it’s biggest city, Houston [America’s 4th largest city] an openly lesbian woman did win the popular vote in a general election for mayor. And some states like Massachusetts where I live have elected repeatedly numerous gay state-wide and federal politicians. We had a gay man run on the Republican ticket for Lt. Governor and for U.S. representative [Congress] and he came close to winning.

    ================

    Where’s Lil’ C*unt? He’s late to the party. Never mind, I’m sure he’ll be full of p*ss and vinegar when he arrives.

  4. Homo Genius says

    umm is she L or G or B or T or what? why cant we just freaking say gay or lesbian. So sick of being referred to as LGBT. I mean its not even factually correct to call people LGBT.

  5. Craig S says

    Paul R, she’s the first openly LGBT premier anywhere in Canada; Jon was wrong about André Boisclair, who was leader of an opposition party and never became premier at all. (“Openly” is also an important distinction, as we’ve already had one provincial premier in Canada who was closeted in office but was outed after his death — and another two about whom there are lingering but unsourceable rumours.)

    Wynne is the first woman to become premier of Ontario, however — and it’s important to know that four other Canadian provinces and one territory also currently have female premiers.

  6. Craig S says

    Dali, there’s no evidence that Boisclair’s sexuality was the *reason* his party failed to win the 2007 election — just because an LGBT person leads a party into an election and fails to win it doesn’t necessarily mean that their sexuality was *why* they didn’t win or that the people weren’t “ready” for it. And by the same token, whether Wynne wins or loses the next Ontario election isn’t going to be determined by her lesbianism for most voters; it’ll be determined by the quality job she does in actually cleaning up the messes she’s inheriting from her predecessor.

    In both cases, there are lots of reasons why a party might win or lose. Homophobia might enter into it for some voters, sure, but it’s unlikely to be the primary *reason* for victory or defeat.

  7. Craig S says

    Homo Genius, the point is that she’s the first person from *any* of the four quadrants of our community to become a provincial premier. *That’s* why the distinction “LGBT” was used instead of just “lesbian” alone.

  8. ratbastard says

    @Craig,

    Lighten up. LGBT sound pompous and fake P.C.-speak to A LOT of people, including gays [can I just use the word gay?]. We’re living in the U.S. and Canada, not the old Soviet Union or Orwell’s 1984.

    I am ‘gay’ or more specifically homosexual…not LGBT. If someone is Bisexual, and call themselves ‘Bi’, or lesbian and refer to themselves as lesbian, or transgendered, etc., that’s fine with me.

  9. UFFDA says

    I’m not LGBT, I”m UFFDA who happens to be gay. So what are we to do about all these labels?

    I know, wait for Lil’ Frankenfag, he’ll know what to demand, shriek, command…a huge furioso fit will inform us.

  10. HOCKEYJOCK says

    @ Ratbastard, Uffda : if you don’t like the term LGBT, then don’t use it, but don’t bash it either as for many it does serve a purpose. It’s useful in terms of explaining the idea ‘non-heterosexuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender’. Saying ‘LGBT’ is WAY shorter.

    Obviously, most people identify as only one of those terms. No one think you are ‘an LGBT’.

    You could say ‘the gay community’, but that technically indicates just gays (and many would interpret that to mean just gay men).

    If you have a better idea for a word to encompass ‘non-heterosexuals’, then suggest it.

  11. GregV says

    Polls show thst another province, British Columbia, is most likely to ditch their present leader and elect the New Democratic Party in May. Although that party’s new leader is a (gay-friendly) straight man, he beat out a gay contender ((Mike Farnworth) by a very narrow margin. So British Columbia will likely have just narrowly missed giving Canada its second gay premier.

    Ontario is by far Canada’s leading province though, with 38% of the country’s population, so having a gay person as leader there will provide a very visible role model.
    This is the first I’ve ever heard of her though, so I cross my fingers and hope she proves herself worthy. It would be exciting to see Canada follow in Iceland’s footsteps someday by having a gay woman leading the country.

  12. GregV says

    Polls show thst another province, British Columbia, is most likely to ditch their present leader and elect the New Democratic Party in May. Although that party’s new leader is a (gay-friendly) straight man, he beat out a gay contender ((Mike Farnworth) by a very narrow margin. So British Columbia will likely have just narrowly missed giving Canada its second gay premier.

    Ontario is by far Canada’s leading province though, with 38% of the country’s population, so having a gay person as leader there will provide a very visible role model.
    This is the first I’ve ever heard of her though, so I cross my fingers and hope she proves herself worthy. It would be exciting to see Canada follow in Iceland’s footsteps someday by having a gay woman leading the country.

  13. says

    It was indeed a tremendously encouraging night to be an Ontarian, and a Canadian!

    Another door opened, another series of glass-ceilings shattered.

    Wynne is an exceptional woman, and a true force to be reckoned with. I’m lucky enough to have known her since I was a child. She will not back down from any tough fights. This is incredible news not just for the LGBT communities and people of Ontario, who now have a strong and visible beacon as Premier, but for the future of the provincial Liberal Party. Wynne has an astonishing ability to get folks on all sides of every aisle to see rationally and work toward a common good.

    I won’t stop smiling all week. I love when the people I love make history and inspire hope and change in others.

    you had betta werk!

  14. Craig S says

    I also agree that the Liberals made a fantastic choice here. I’m generally much more inclined to the orange side of the Liberal-NDP divide, but right from the very first time I saw her in action I’ve *always* thought Wynne was one of the real standouts in the McGuinty government, and the Liberal Party in general. She’s competent, she’s smart, she knows how to get things done and she has a professional background as a mediator (which will certainly come in handy trying to negotiate the perils of a minority Parliament) — and she gives off a sense of being the kind of person who, even if you disagree with her on an issue, is willing to at least listen to your views and discuss them respectfully rather than trashing you for daring to believe something different.

    I’m genuinely proud of her, and think she’ll do a great job. That’s my premier!

  15. Hue-Man says

    “She DID NOT win a popular election for premier…”

    In the parliamentary system there is NO popular election for premier or prime minister. The political party with the largest number of Members of Parliament (federal) or Members of the Legislative Assembly (many provinces), becomes the Head of Government (prime minister or premier).

    By tradition, Wynne will have to win in her constituency in the upcoming election and have more MLA’s than the other parties in order to become Premier again.

  16. Jared says

    Re: LITTLEKIWI — Tinge of orange to the Liberals?? No thanks!! What we really need is for the NDP to get a tinge of red, so we don’t bankrupt the province, drive away investment, and saddle our children with debt.

    What Ontario needs is good jobs and a sustainable public sector. I care about taking care of everyone as much as the next person, but there won’t be much a welfare state left if we don’t have a strong economy to pay for it (see continental Europe). The NDP is for the most part as ideological as the Conservatives. The only reason their support has been high lately is because they’ve essentially become Liberals themselves, so maybe they’re already red.

  17. Craig S says

    Actually, Jared, if you look at their overall record the NDP has a much better and more consistent track record of bringing in balanced budgets than either the Liberals or the Conservatives ever have. But by all means, don’t let the facts stand in your way.

  18. Randy says

    I’m not a fan of our system of electing premiers outside of the provincial election process. It’s tremendously undemocratic.

    But I’m glad for Wynne’s win. Hopefully it won’t be as short as Kim Campbell’s prime minister career.

  19. ratbastard says

    Yes, HUE-MAN,

    I’m aware in the parliamentary system there is no direct voter election of leaders. I was just trying to point this out to especially Americans. We do vote directly for governors, senators, presidents.

  20. Toronto34 says

    She will get destroyed in the election and it is not much of an achievement to only get elected by 2000 members of your own party. She is too left-wing for a party that must compete with another left-wing party (NDP).

    As a gay man, I’d never vote for a lesbian due to their personality and not who they sleep with. Most gay guys I know have little in common with them and can’t stand the grouping of LGBT.

  21. Toronto34 says

    Although it should be said that I only know three other gay men and the only thing we have in common is a shared hatred of women and trans people, which we all learned from the men in our families, who hate women even more than they hate gay men.

Leave A Reply