Meeting Dalton McGuinty, the 24th Premier of Ontario

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One of the most appealing aspects of OLIP is the ability to have candid conversations with some of the influential individuals in Ontario’s political process. We began our series of premier meetings with Dalton McGuinty, the 24th Premier of Ontario. At the start of the meeting, Mr. McGuinty presented us with a copy of his book, Dalton McGuinty: Making a Difference. Since we had just celebrated Josef’s birthday, we decided he should take it and Mr. McGuinty gladly signed it for Josef.

Mr. McGuinty began by affirming the importance of remaining idealistic despite the changing circumstances within politics. His ability to remain idealistic came from his philosophy that we have a need to do something lasting with our lives for others and create a meaningful difference. Mr. McGuinty firmly stated that in his 22 years within politics, he never regretted anything.

As Mr. McGuinty recalled his leadership race, we were all amazed that he was able to become leader despite coming fourth on the first ballot but winning the leadership on the fifth ballot. When describing his years as Premier, we particularly noted he chose to include all who ran against him within his cabinet because he wanted their perspective to be used for the advantage of Ontarians. Mr. McGuinty was unique as he included every MPP in the government caucus in cabinet committees because he wanted more MPPs to have a meaningful influence on policy decisions.

Mr. McGuinty ended our meeting by stressing that the best leaders reinforce what we all have in common. You have to be mindful of regional concerns however we are all in this together, as one Ontario. Thank you Mr. McGuinty for the great conversation!  

 

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A Meeting with Andrew Coyne

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Now that we have started our placements with MPPs, Fridays are our days to reconnect with each other and have thought-provoking and inspiring meetings with interesting Ontarians.  One such meeting was with National Post columnist Andrew Coyne.  In addition to his wit in print, Mr. Coyne is well known for his unique, but well argued perspectives on Canadian politics.

A previous national editor of Maclean’s, Mr. Coyne has also been featured in a variety in a variety of publications like the Financial Post, the Globe and Mail, and the New York Times.  He also appears weekly on the “At Issue” panel on CBC’s the National.

Mr. Coyne has written prolifically on the merits and minutia of proportional representation.  An advocate for voter reform, he explained the political and policy constraints of the variety of systems, whether they be ranked ballots or single transferrable votes.  He also pontificated on the future of voting reform movements in Canada and the provinces.

Mr. Coyne was able to educate us on party politics, particularly how it changes approaching an election – an phenomenon we will experience first hand this year.  Of particular interest is the impact of recent campaign finance and advertising reforms.  It will also be interesting to spectate the interplay between persistent issues (unemployment, education, healthcare, energy) and wedge and micro-focus policies.

A common theme in our conversations with media members has been their approach to writing about politics, as well as the changing media landscape.  Mr. Coyne provided us with valuable context on the role of advertising in publications throughout history, as well as the impacts of and varied approaches to technology.  In addition to the failings of the newspaper industry, Mr. Coyne contemplated partisan media, emerging opportunities, and the future of legacy media around Canada and the world.

Thank you Mr. Coyne for your continued support of the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme.  We are grateful for your frankness and answers to all of our questions.

 

Meeting with our Sponsor, LawPRO

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We were grateful to meet with one of our sponsors, the Lawyers Professional Indemnity Company, also known as LawPRO. The company is owned by The Law Society of Upper Canada and provides professional liability insurance for private practice lawyers in Ontario, a mandate provided by the Law Society Act. Indemnity coverage has been mandatory for Ontario lawyers since 1972.

LawPRO’s President and CEO Kathleen Waters, Vice-Presidents Daniel Pinnington and Raymond Leclair, and Claims Prevention and Stakeholder Relations Coordinator Tim Lemieux took us through an overview of their mandate, the evolution of LawPRO, the types of coverage offered by LawPRO, and the changes affecting their profession and industry. Those of us considering careers in law were particularly interested in the causes of claims and the claims resolution process, as well as innovations such as Title Plus Insurance and Excess Insurance. The rest of us were captivated by the way public policy impacts the work of LawPRO and lawyers, as well as comparisons of professional liability insurance across jurisdictions.

Part of LawPRO’s role is claims prevention through education and training. Due to changes in society and law, LawPRO has also addressed serving Indigenous clients, preventing fraud through bad cheques and real estate scams, cybercrime, and social media. These initiatives have also extended to current law students and also members of the public through video or guides on renting apartments. Thank you LawPRO for educating us about your industry and engagement with the policy process, as well as your continued support of the Ontario legislature Internship Programme.

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