Monday, December 17, 2012

Kathleen Wynne, Blogging Teleconference Call (#olpldr)

Tonight, Kathleen Wynne, candidate for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, held a conference call for Liberal bloggers. It was a great opportunity for us to hear directly from Kathleen. Several bloggers attended - the ones I remember right now - Scott Tribe (Scott's DiaTribes) and Kyle Hutton (Blunt Objects). There were some other participants, but they were shy (if you're reading this, leave a comment and I'll update this post).

Kathleen used the opportunity to showcase her ideas for party renewal in a premail to the attendees. She's developing a strategy that I think mirrors some of the structure of the federal party. She's proposing an independent(ish) executive, with regional executive representation. Also, she's committed to review the financial relationship between the central party and the riding associations in unheld ridings.

I don't have a lot of opinion on the structure of the Ontario Liberal Party as I'm still fairly new to it, but I think when it comes out, it'll bring lots of good debate for Liberals.

Once she discussed her plan, the call was opened up to questions from attending bloggers.

Highlights of the conversation:

  • Near and dear to Scott's heart, is the ability for bloggers to attend the convention with some form of accredited status (a la the NDP federal leadership where several of us bloggers enjoyed full accredited status with badges and everything). Kathleen committed to taking the issue back to the convention organizers.
     
  • I asked how she felt being one of the Toronto-based candidates, where Sandra Pupatello is running as the "non-Toronto" candidate. I then asked is she ready to be attacked by the opposition parties for also being Toronto-based. She is upset by the divisions between rural and urban ridings and the politics that divide the two "regions". However, she said it's a falsity that Ontarians are urban or rural only. More often than not, Ontarians know of someone or have lived in multiple areas within the province.
     
  • As a member of government, Kathleen accepted the government's responsibility for Ornge and the teacher unrest. She's confident that the current work of the government and Premier Dalton McGuinty will work to resolve these issues. She also indicated that she would continue the successful record of the Ontario Liberal Party and will not be running as the "radical change" candidate who will throw the previous leadership under the bus. I like that.
     
  • Kathleen seeks to engage more youth in the party. The concern raised by Kyle is he's in a riding without a strong youth component - not being in a university town, there's not a strong active youth presence. Her strategy for renewing the party itself will seek to strengthen OLP representation in unheld ridings and to strengthen the youth wing with that. I'm too old to be a youth, so I'll leave that to Liberal youth to debate.
     
  • I asked how, as Premier, she would get along with the Prime Minister. There was much guffawing from the bloggers - ah, we're a partisan lot. Any way, she understands that she must work with all levels of government; federal, First Nations, and municipal. I thought it very interesting that she mentioned First Nations government since it's typically held up as federal responsibility. She admitted they might run into disagreements, but she's committed to making the relationship work - that, she says, will help Ontario achieve a fair share. So, no Danny Williams routine from Kathleen Wynne as Premier.
All-in-all, a positive experience. I appreciated the invite to attend and I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Q&A session. She's committed to doing the conference call again, and I'd like to participate once more.

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