Meeting With The Right Honourable Dalton McGuinty
We had the privilege of meeting with Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario for almost ten years, from 2003 to 2013. Mr. McGuinty studied Biology at McMaster University before attending law school at the University of Ottawa. He was first elected as an MPP for the riding of Ottawa South in 1990. He decided to run after the death of his father, who was the previous MPP for Ottawa South. He became leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in 1995 and served ten years as Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition before becoming Premier. Mr. McGuinty is the first Liberal premier to secure three consecutive terms since Oliver Mowat (1872-1896).
Mr. McGuinty shared with us his own insights from his time in office. We discussed with him the importance of personal relationships to politics and public service. While these relationships are most common within one’s own party, Mr. McGuinty shared with us how he had to learn to also forge relationships across party lines, a sometimes challenging but incredibly important task for a leader.
We also discussed some of the challenges and benefits of partisanship. On the one hand, Mr. McGuinty highlighted that partisanship allows for a diversity of ideas and opinions which are necessary for a flourishing and healthy parliamentary democracy. On the other hand, Mr. McGuinty shared with us his opinions on some of the shortcomings of partisanship when it becomes too polarized and personal, namely that it makes it very hard to have productive debate and often contributes to the public’s growing cynicism about politicians and our political systems.
Most importantly, Mr. McGuinty stressed to us the importance of always striving to make a difference, be it through politics, public service, or something else. We are so grateful for the time and insights he shared with us!