We were happy to meet Reverend Dr. Cheri DiNovo, a former Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Parkdale–High Park from 2006 to 2017. Rev. Dr. DiNovo was nicknamed the “Queen of Tri-Party Bills” and known as the member that passed the most Private Member’s Bills in the Ontario Legislature.
Prior to entering politics, Rev. Dr. DiNovo was highly involved in activism on a wide range of matters, including the student protest movement, LGBTQ+ rights, and women’s rights. She highlighted the importance of advocacy and activism in creating change in political spaces. As an MPP, she is proud to have been instrumental in passing Toby’s Law, the legislation that added trans rights to the Human Rights Code, making Ontario among the first jurisdictions to do so.
Rev. Dr. DiNovo emphasized the importance of standing on principles over partisanship as an elected official. Though parties want to perform well in elections and pass as much legislation as possible, parties and individual members must also stand by strong principles to achieve the best outcomes for the people. Though it may have caused conflict, Rev. Dr. DiNovo always tried to remain steadfast to her own principles. We were reminded of the importance of having integrity and courage in our own careers.
Lastly, Rev. Dr. DiNovo spoke openly about how her lived experiences and background shaped her approach to policymaking. She described having to go door to door on her own when she lacked large financial resources and support during her first campaign. Since she felt invisible in some spaces due to her identity and background during early moments in her career, she feels it is important for her to be visible now. She hopes to inspire more people to enter political spaces, especially women, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC people, to achieve the goal of seeing more diversity in the seats of the Legislature.
During our discussion, we were inspired to continue to advocate on issues that are important to us and to follow our passions after OLIP. Having hosted four previous OLIP interns in her office, we thank Rev. Dr. DiNovo for her long-term support of OLIP and for taking the time to meet with us!