As part of our attempt to meet every living Premier of Ontario, the Interns had the pleasure of meeting with the Honorable Bill Davis, Premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985. We discussed subjects that include, and are not limited to: his hometown of Brampton, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (to which he quizzed us on!), and the future of politics in Ontario.
We all appreciated hearing Mr. Davis’ reflections on the negotiation and/or implementation process of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter). In his own words, Mr. Davis shared that, “the Charter did what it was supposed to do- safeguard the rights of all Canadians.” Nevertheless, Mr. Davis shared that the negotiation process was difficult, and that compromises were necessary. The most significant compromise: the Notwithstanding Clause.
Throughout our discussion, Mr. Davis expressed a keen interest in education. While Premier, Mr. Davis spearheaded the establishment of three universities. More specifically, he discussed the evolution of the education system in Ontario since the 1970s.
It was very interesting to learn about Mr. Davis’ experience in politics, and his opinion on Ontario’s future. Looking to the future, Mr. Davis argued for: higher enrollment in post-secondary education, greater youth engagement in politics, and for greater trust in our democratic systems.
Of most importance, Mr. Davis encouraged us to critically challenge policies, and embrace change.
We appreciated that Mr. Davis took time to meet with us, and look forward to the future!