Character Reference

Kathleen Wynne wins the Liberal Party leadership and is the new premier of Ontario, taking over from Dalton McGuinty. Source: Toronto Sun website, picture taken by Mark Blinch of Reuters News of which all rights are given.
Kathleen Wynne wins the Liberal Party leadership and is the new premier of Ontario, taking over from Dalton McGuinty. (Source: Toronto Sun website, picture taken by Mark Blinch of Reuters News of which all copyrights belong and are respected)

I don’t know Kathleen Wynne personally, but she has represented my riding of Don Valley West for many years. She’s well-liked by many of her constituents.

She’s also gay … (Seinfeldin’) not that there is anything wrong with that. I believe people nowadays have moved past such trivial things and are more interested in the sum total of what makes up the character of a person.

I have met Ms. Wynne on a number of occasions, a few times during her campaigning, and a couple of times during Earth Day cleanup. As I said, I don’t know her personally, but my first impression of her character is that she is someone who is very honest, intelligent, approachable, and a good listener. She does not come across as someone who gets what she wants at the expense of others.

Then again, most politicians are like that: people of generally good character. Sure, we all love to take a swipe or a thousand at those we elect to office, and some of those swipes have figurative claws laced with venom. The truth of the matter is that most people who run for office want to make things better after witnessing what a lousy job those currently in office are doing. They are people of good character, like Ms. Wynne.

The sad thing about all of this (is this an example of irony?) is that once those well-meaning people are elected, they end up doing the same thing as those who they wanted out of office. The swipes continue, but now it’s a new person we love to take aim at.

Why this happens is unclear. Maybe it’s because the elected official forgets what made their character respectable and that political life, with the rewards of power and money, blinds them to their obligation to the electorate who voted them in. Maybe it’s a question of competence, which is not the same as good character. The elected official may want to do the right thing, but lacks the understanding and skill sets required to do so. Cue Mayor Rob Ford as an example: well-meaning and cares about taxpayers money being spent wisely, but look at the situation he is currently in now, of his own manufacture. It’s like employment. You can be a great person, but still get fired for doing a not-so-great job. The only difference where politics is concerned is that we can’t immediately fire the hired help for being such an epic screwup.

Whatever the reason, those who we thought were of good character and have elected to office have broken their word to us. Broken seems to be a good way that describes my home province of Ontario right now.  Financially broke because we have a debt and deficit that past provincial governments have not managed to rein in but instead have allowed it to soar. Morally broke because of the scandals such as those involving e-Health and the ORNGE ambulance service. Physically broke because, right now, no one is sitting in the Legislature working to fix the problems Ontario faces. One of these problems is the lack of jobs for people like myself who want to work, are trying hard to find work, yet are still not working.

Right now, the newspapers in Ontario are making a big thing about Ms. Wynne winning the Liberal Party leadership and is the new Premier of Ontario. First female Premier. First openly gay Premier. To quote Garfield the Cat, “big fat hairy deal”. What really matters goes back to what I wrote about at the beginning of this post: good character.

It will take a Premier of good character to assemble a government that can work with the opposition parties and listens to the voters to get the broke out of “broken Ontario”. To help get people like me back to work.

I hope Ms. Wynne is that kind of Premier and I will be watching to see if my assessment of her character was on the mark.

Thanks for reading!



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