Wynne: Working her way out of the bubble.

Last weekend’s event in Toronto’s old Maple Leaf Gardens site was like midwifery in an igloo. The emergence of the new leader was a private event that did not involve the bitterness of the outside world. While an estimated 15,000 unionists protested outside on Carlton Street, just over 2000 people inside the Gardens, decided on the next premier of Ontario.

Wynne won but she has her work cut out for her from day one. Her first week is now behind her and she can only check off so much of her to-do list—some sceptics see it as a bucket list. Most of her meetings were to set agendas for more meetings but she has much to accomplish before the legislature is reconvened.

Her meeting with Lieutenant Governor David Onley was to set the time table for swearing in her cabinet and herself as premier before facing the opposition in the legislature. Both Opposition Leader Tiny Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath are busy drawing lines in the sand for Premier Wynne.

One surprise was that Wynne immediately set the wheels in motion for her review commission on party nominations. The original proposal was scoffed at by this blog but we are more than willing to hear what the commission has to say. They might find it helpful to read the extensive work by Tom Axworthy of Queen’s University on Liberal Party Renewal before filing their report. Tom’s report was prepared in 2006 and has been gathering dust ever since.

Mind you, the commission, headed by Mary McGowan with five fellow commissioners, has its work cut out for it. The main problem with Kathleen Wynne’s proposals is that she offers to share the decision as to the timing of nominations with the provincial council. The last time a party council stood up to a party leader was in 1967 and it lead to a leadership convention that defeated former Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker.

The problem today is not on that scale. Wynne has watched McGuinty dictate to the Liberal Party in Ontario for the past 10 years. She only thinks that sharing power would be friendlier. What is needed is to return to the idea that the power comes from the party to the leader. This makes the party stronger. It improves and greatly expands policy development. It makes fundraising more open, democratic and honest. And it produces stronger, more riding-oriented candidates who can win more electoral districts. Also, in the long run, it will give us better leaders.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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