In the lead up to the 2018 Ontario Election scheduled for June 7, we decided to go beyond the policy questions, canned answers and sloganeering and try to get to know the leaders a little bit with a fun Proust-style questionnaire. First up, Kathleen Wynne.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A day with my family at the cottage.
What is your greatest fear? That something might happen to Jane or the kids.
What is one thing you’d like to change about yourself? I’d like to be able to joke around more. I can be pretty serious most of the time. Next question.
What is the last concert you attended? Dolly Parton. It was incredible. She sang for hours – two full sets. And I got to meet her!
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Dishonesty.
Which living person do you most admire? I don’t think I can choose just one. I admire so many different people for different things. I admire people like Silken Laumann for overcoming an injury to be the best at her sport. I admire Senator Elizabeth Warren for her tenacity and the superb way she communicates our progressive values. I admire my mom for the way she raised her four girls. There are so many admirable people in our world. I admire my colleague Michael Gravelle for the way he’s been open about his mental health challenges.
What is your greatest extravagance? Chocolate. Especially the stuff they make at Hummingbird Chocolate in Almonte, Ontario.
What is your most overplayed song on your playlist? “Just Like Fire” by Pink. It’s our campaign theme song so it kind of feels like it is following me around. It plays practically every time I walk in or out of a room.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? So, turns out I use the word ‘so…’ a lot. I guess I rely on it to connect my thoughts. Also, build Ontario up, because that’s what I was elected to do, so, that’s what I’m talking about the most.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My partner Jane, my three kids Chris, Jesse and Maggie, and now my three grandkids. I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have as much love in my life as I do.
When and where were you happiest? Every summer, in Northern Ontario, dipping my paddle into a calm lake on the first day of our annual canoe trip.
Which talent would you most like to have? I never learned how to play the saxophone. I think that would be a great talent to have. I love music.
What is your favourite TV show? A toss-up between Madame Secretary and Grace and Frankie. Probably Grace and Frankie. But right now Jane and I are watching Friends reruns. Something so comforting about an old episode of Friends.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Pretty sure I already answered this question but since you asked, for the longest time I would have said my hair. I’ve always thought it could be better. But now I love it! Funny how minds just change.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising three fine humans (my children). And being Ontario’s first elected female Premier… that’s pretty great too.
Where would you most like to live? We’d love to have a house on the water’s edge.
What is your most treasured possession? My grandmother’s dining table.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Nellie McClung.
Who are your heroes in real life? In this job I meet my real life heroes all the time. I meet seniors who have fought at Dieppe. I meet nurses who work in the Emergency Room at St. Mike’s trauma centre. I meet Indigenous grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren, holding their communities together. I meet single parents who are working so hard to give their kids a good life.
What is your greatest regret? That I didn’t travel more when I was younger.
What is the biggest difference between Ontario politics and those south of the border? It’s that the people of Ontario are far less polarized. We have this sort of consensus that there will be decency in our politics and fairness in our government. You don’t get that in the U.S., where politics really have become an us against them bloodsport. In the U.S. it’s Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. In Ontario it’s Peace, Order and Good Government. That says it all. There’s a basic acceptance by all sides of the spectrum here that we want to live in harmony, and so we have an obligation to respect and support each other. But we are vulnerable to losing that. There are some who want our politics to follow in the footsteps of the U.S. and that’s dangerous. We have to resist that divisiveness.
What is Ontario’s greatest strength? It’s a cliché but it’s our people — and here’s why. We are the most welcoming, caring people you will find anywhere. There is almost a radical hospitality in Ontario, where we welcome people from all over the world. And that’s how we have become our own greatest strength. It’s why Ontario is the heart of Canada — the pioneers who are leading the way by balancing the needs of our economy with the needs of a diverse and inclusive society. As Premier, I’ve been all over the world on trade missions and Ontario’s reputation is stellar. It’s because we are known as that place that the whole world calls home. That place where every child gets a great start. Everyone who wants to can go to college or university. And everyone can get the care they need. We shouldn’t take any of it for granted. We have to protect what we’ve built, and expand it for the next generation.
Stay tuned for Andrea Horwath of the NDP, Mike Schreiner of the Green Party and, well, maybe even Doug Ford. We’re just not sure.