5 years ago, the Democratic Party made history by picking an African-American as their Presidential nominee, and the American people made history by electing him their first African-American president. It is no hyperbole to say that tonight, Ontario Liberals made their own bit of history by a) choosing a woman Premier, and b) choosing an openly gay woman as Premier.
It will only be historic in the same vein as Barack Obama if the people of Ontario elect her back to the Premiership when the next election comes up. That will not be easy; I feel the hard part is not what Wynne’s sexual orientation will be viewed as (potentially in a negative light in rural conservative Ontario), but the fact she inherits a government that is extremely unpopular in the polls and in certain segments of Ontario – which just happens to be rural Ontario. Wynne will need to show that despite being a Cabinet Minister in that government, she can put forth a fresh face and bring forth the policies and change to prove that
On a separate note, I’d like to see Premier Wynne become involved with reaching out to the netroots/grassroots. She had a bloggers conference call during her campaign – the only candidate to do that I might add, and Liberal bloggers who listened – even ones that had declared for other candidates – were suitably impressed with her demeanor and frank answers. We’d like to see some sort of outreach like that continue, when it seems to have been stifled in the past couple of years, when inquiries on that were put forth. (It doesn’t necessarily have to be her, but even if we heard from those in Cabinet or in the Comms Department that were involved in explaining crucial policies, who were willing to hear some feedback, even if it might not be always positive feedback). There’s at least one campaign organizer in Wynne’s camp who knows what I am referring to when I discuss this. I hope that person (who treated us bloggers well with getting us info and Wynne campaign stuff) is involved with that sort of thing and can explain the concept/ideas behind it to Wynne and her team. (UPDATE: BigCityLib says the same thing in his last paragraph or 2 here)
Sandra Pupatello and the other candidates are also to be congratulated, and I hope all of them – Sandra and Gerard Kennedy in particular – will help Wynne in her new job to succeed.
Some personal notes on this Convention, which I’ve made on Twitter, but some of which can be repeated here:
-great to see old friends and meet new ones who read this blog and Progressive Bloggers (and meet some blog affiliates of Prog BLog – both former and current – at the Convention.
– A thank you to the Ontario Liberal Party – particularly Christine Mcmillan and
Dave Bradley Hammond – for inviting us bloggers to observe this and be accredited with the same privileges for the most part as the media. We’d have liked more of us to be there, and with some more ideological diversity (I really thought a couple of NDP or yes, even Conservative bloggers should have been invited) but thank you nonetheless. Your hospitality of all of you was well done.
– I’m still not an Ontario Liberal Party member; (you can read where I became disenchanted with the OLP); I want to see how Wynne decides to change the Party. I’ll keep an open mind about it though.
– Delegated Conventions are great for drama.. but they suck for democratic picking of leaders. I’d like to see the OLP move to more direct voting for their leader – a la One Member One Vote, or Supporters such as the Federal Liberals are trying, or something else that brings about more direct democracy for the leader to be picked.