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!