Minutes before our meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne, a tense silence hung in the air. It was a silence of nerves, of anticipation. One of my fellow interns turned to me and asked, ‘Why am I nervous?’
I wasn’t sure. After having actually met with our Premier and taking some time to reflect, I believe that I can posit a hypothesis, at least: our nerves were raw excitement, misplaced. After all, who wouldn’t be excited to meet a Premier whose enviable rhetoric and argumentation style elevates debate in Question Period to an art? A Premier who, as a gay woman, capably leads a province which still hadn’t legalized same-sex marriage at the beginning of this century?
And finally: a Premier who was able to put the interns’ nerves to rest within a minute of sitting down to speak with us? Given how excited we were, that really is an enviable accomplishment.
Premier Wynne told us matter-of-factly that unfortunately, she didn’t have a lot of time to spend with us, so she wanted to get started with our questions right away. She anticipated rightly that we had a lot of them.
We spoke about the issues of the day, but also about how the Premier handles her job more generally. The answer? Passion.
“To be a successful politician, you have to love people,” she told us. Fortunately, that is something that comes naturally to Ms. Wynne. “I don’t have to pretend to be an extrovert,” she said, “I just am.”
“I enjoy being a politician,” she said frankly.
On the topic of politics and the Legislature more generally, the Premier upheld the idea that, in her words, a parliament “exists to be an exchange of ideas.” The interns can certainly attest to that; we have been privy to so many interesting ideas since the beginning of our internship, and many have indeed come from Premier Wynne.
Just before our time with the Premier was up, we couldn’t resist asking one self-serving question: did Ms. Wynne have any advice for us?
She advised us to listen to and value the advice we are given, but to remember that “[a]t some point, you just have to make a decision to go for it.”
We will, Ms. Wynne. Thank you.