Ontario Liberals made history twice over Saturday in choosing Kathleen Wynne as their new leader: she will become the province’s first woman premier, and the country’s first openly gay premier.
Wynne defeated front-runner Sandra Pupatello on the third ballot by 1,150 delegate votes to 866 at the Ontario Liberal Party’s leadership convention.
The MPP for Toronto’s Don Valley West riding is a former minister of education and transportation. Until resigning from cabinet to pursue the party leadership she was serving as minister of municipal affairs and housing, and of aboriginal affairs. She will replace the resigning Dalton McGuinty to become the 25th premier in Ontario’s history.
Is there another 59 year old woman in this country whose sexual inclinations are so eagerly discussed? Does anyone care who Christy Clark or Alison Redford is screwing this evening? I mean aside from the voters of their respective provinces. Didn't think so. The Left, ever eager to place us into racial and gender cubbyholes, has hailed the election of Canada's first lesbian premier. A bold new age has now dawned!
As we are about to see race, gender and class do not matter as much as ideas, or the lack thereof. The Ontario Liberal Party has replaced its nominally Catholic leader with an openly lesbian one, yet intellectual both are different sides of the same debased coin. Dalton McGuinty preached not so much socialism, Liberals have nothing approaching a coherent ideology, as a militant habit of fiscal incontinence. There was no plan or direction to the McGuinty years. If someone felt pissed off because of Mike Harris' policies they got a check. Given that Mr Harris pissed off about half the province that meant a lot of checks and consequently a near doubling of the provincial debt.
This is the mess that Kathleen Wynne both inherited and had a hand in creating. She has sat at the cabinet table since 2006, spending most of her time as Minister of Education. By all accounts she is not only further to the Left than Sandra Pupatello, the second place finisher, she is also considerably to the Left of Dalton McGuinty. Since the Liberal Party's operational principle is bribing voters with taxpayers money, this means that Ms Wynne is implicitly promising to spend more money than the outgoing McGuinty government.
Having dug the province into a vast fiscal hole, the Ontario Liberal Party has decided to elect someone who is promising to keep digging but at a more frantic pace. This cannot continue forever. Modern governments, because of their size and scope, are only partially accountable to the electorate. In the end the only real check on a spendthrift government is the global bond market. At the moment it is unlikely that Ontario will suffer a major credit downgrade, at least so long as it is assumed that the financially stronger federal government will bail us out in a pinch. This will not go on indefinitely. At some point the money is going to dry up and the provincial government will hit a wall.
No matter how progressive the politician, or sympathetic the media, the math at some point will become very hard. This doesn't mean that Ms Wynne cannot win re-election. The voters of Ontario have proven themselves to be Grade A suckers, having accepted the Dalt's lies and incompetence for nine astonishing years. It is entirely possible that they will fall for the oldest trick in the political book, changing the leader while keeping the policies and much of the personnel. However long a Wynne government lasts, don't expect a radical sea change.
Ontario is about to discover that lesbians can screw things up just as much as straight people can.
That's a kind of equality.