Monday, 28 January 2013

WYNNE WINS LIBERAL LEADERSHIP - BUT WILL ONTARIO VOTE FOR A LESBIAN PREMIER?


Kathleen Wynne (pictured here at her campaign launch) won the Ontario Liberal leadership convention to become Canada's first-ever lesbian premier (Photo courtesy the Kathleen Wynne Campaign's Flickr page)

MPP Kathleen Wynne won the Ontario Liberal Party leadership convention on January 26 with 1,150 votes to Sandra Pupatello's 866 votes on the third ballot, making Wynne not just the province's first female premier but also Canada's first out LGBT premier.

Former New Brunswick premier Richard Hatfield – whose gay sexual orientation was an open secret – never actually publicly came out before his death in 1991 at the age of 60.

At the Liberal leadership convention, Wynne pointed out that she does not believe her lesbian sexual orientation will cost her votes in the next Ontario provincial election.

“Let's put something on the table: Is Ontario ready for a gay premier? You've heard that question,” Wynne, 59, told delegates at the convention. “Let's say what that actually means: Can a gay woman win?"

Wynne, who is married to Jane Rounthwaite, continued, “When I ran in 2003, I was told that the people of North Toronto and Thorncliffe Park weren't ready to elect a gay woman. Well, apparently they were. You know, there was a time, not that long ago, when most of us in this race would have been deemed unsuitable. A Portugese-Canadian, an Indo-Canadian, Italian-Canadian, female, gay, Catholic. Most of us could not have hoped to stand on this stage, but this province has changed. Our party has changed.

“I don't believe the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, colour or sexual orientation – I don't believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts.

“They judge us on our merits – on our abilities, on our expertise, on our ideas – because that is how everyone deserves to be judged. That is how we want our children, our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews to be judged.

“So, when it is time for me to take us into the next general election, I will do it on the basis of our merits, based on our success.”

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