Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Conference Call With #OLPLdr Candidate Kathleen Wynne

... which has already been written about extensively by my fellow Libloggers, Scott Tribe and James Calder. If you want the minutae of the call, read their stuff, they give a good overview. They also asked great questions (as did I), so kudos to both of them.

So I won't focus on the per-question details. That's been done. Instead I'll just give my frank opinion of Kathleen Wynne, who I had the opportunity to meet on Saturday at our local Xmas party, as well as listened to her give detailed answers to several questions on a wide range of policies and issues.

The simple answer is that by talking with and seeing her style, Kathleen Wynne has convinced me that she would be an excellent leader of the Ontario Liberals, and a great Premier for this province. I'm not afraid to say that, as someone who will likely be a delegate to the January convention, she's my choice. This blog doesn't pretend to be impartial (except on matters of polling - that is sacred), and I'm this close to jumping fully on board for the Wynne campaign.

Of course, I still want to give others a chance, so I haven't yet. Who knows, maybe another candidate can convince me of their viability. I'm always open to being persuaded.

The longer answer I'll start off with a comparison. Earlier this year, Justin Trudeau came to town, as has Marc Garneau, Jonathan Mousley, and David Merner. Deborah Coyne and George Takach where here on Saturday as well. All are great federal Liberal leadership candidates, and of them, Jonathan impressed me the most with his answers (seriously, give that guy a look).

At the same time, I wasn't convinced that any of these candidates have what it takes. I wasn't entirely convinced that any of them are ready to lead the party. Maybe it just requires time, or more experience on the campaign trail, but that certain something just wasn't there. Their answers were sort of bland and regular campaign promises, nothing that addressed the real problems. To give you an example, I asked some of these candidates what they'd do to help get the youth interested in the Liberal Party. The answer was, invariably, jobs and pot.

Jobs are important, yes. No argument there. But pot? Seriously? Do people really believe that having the policy position that pot should be legalized is going to attract the youth vote in great numbers? It won't. Its a fringe issue even among the youth, no one really cares. If they did, they'd be voting for the damn NDP in droves - yet even they can't get the youth vote out.

With Kathleen Wynne, I was convinced basically right away that she knew what the important issues were, and had answers to solve them that made sense. Once she started answering questions on issues such as the budget, on green energy, on unemployment, on party engagement, on youth engagement - all answers were reasonable, entirely grounded in reality (thus completely doable), and promises or ideas that I as a supporter could hold her to. I like that. Its not the abstract crap we usually hear - no offense to others. Its specific, proper, accountable responses.

Now, I'm not saying every response was necessarily "good" - just that the weren't out there, they weren't off-putting or something I couldn't work with. Its very hard to sometimes get that out of a politician, who is used to glossing over major problems in favour of vote-grabbing issues, often without any specifics. Having grand ideas is great, I support that - but when it comes right down to it, I want someone with a head on their shoulders, instead of up in the clouds.

Kathleen Wynne convinced me she is that exact kind of person. I appreciate that. I'll encourage everyone to look into her campaign, and contact them if you can to maybe get her to come to your riding, or find out where events are. You'll see what I mean. Maybe she isn't your right cup o' tea for whatever reason, but definitely, definitely give her a chance before moving on. Its worth it, and you may just change your mind.

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