Our Meeting with Premier Doug Ford
The OLIP Interns had the pleasure of meeting with the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford. Premier Ford very graciously gave us an hour of his time, and answered our questions about Ontario’s role in Canada and the world, and the nature of effective leadership.
Premier Ford began by talking about how he manages being the Premier of Ontario, and also the MPP for Etobicoke North. Premier Ford stated that it was extremely important to him that he remain connected to the people of Etobicoke North and their concerns by returning to the riding on a regular basis and having conversations on the street and at doorways. This was a theme that Premier Ford reiterated to us several times; in order to be effective representatives, politicians need to step out of the bubble of Queen’s Park and get an idea of what regular Ontarians are talking about. Some of the interns are from the Etobicoke area, and Premier Ford was happy to hear about their experiences and career journeys thus far.
Likewise, Premier Ford told us about his focus on listening. Whether it be constituents in Etobicoke North, people he meets while touring the province, or stakeholders, listening is vital to developing policy. He told us that no leader should govern based only on what they believe, but should be ready to accept new information and change their mind after listening to those around them. We appreciated this piece of advice as we begin to think about how we can be effective leaders in our own lives and careers.
Finally, Premier Ford shared some of his experiences as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. He said that no matter the party stripes of premiers across the country, it is important that premiers collaborate and work together with the federal government for the success of the country and all the provinces. He believes that as the engine of Canada, Ontario has a leadership role to play in these discussions. Overall, Premier Ford believes that Ontarians want to see politicians collaborate, so he tries to do this with his counterparts. As non-partisan interns, it was interesting to hear how these relationships are built and how collaboration across party lines operates in the Canadian federation.
We want to thank Premier Ford for taking the time to speak with us, his energy and support for the programme, and for answering all of our questions!