The Honourable Kathleen Wynne: “How Federalism Can Work Better in Canada” (Spring 2024 Talk #3 Summary)

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Kathleen Wynn

Margaret Prugovecki introduced Kathleen Wynne. Wynne was born in Richmond Hill, one of four daughters. She attended Queen’s University, OISE and UofT. Wynne had a 22-year political career, as trustee on the Toronto School Board, as MPP in the Ontario Legislature, as Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and as Premier of Ontario from 2013-2018. She continued as MPP for Don Valley West until 2022. Since 2021, she has been a professor at the University of Toronto where she mentors future politicians and change-makers.

Her talk focussed on the importance of the relationship of the four levels of Canadian government: federal, provincial, municipal and Indigenous, saying “We are stronger together.” She commented that people expect governments to work together but often don’t know who is responsible for what.

She discussed two issues in particular: retirement security through such programs as health care and CPP benefits,  and solutions to climate change, including the need to shut down coal plants and to introduce cap and trade, a program designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

She also discussed working with other levels of government on issues such as transit infrastructure, road tolls and Indigenous issues.

She concluded by pointing out a number of areas of disagreement between the levels of government on issues such as housing, immigration, foreign students, carbon tax and LGBTQ rights. She concluded that we need more consensus. “Canada is the best country in the world; our politicians need to talk to one other.”

Her talk was followed by a number of interesting questions and comments from the large audience on topics such as other political leaders, daycare, inter- provincial trade (e.g. why can’t we have BC wine in Ontario), the automotive industry in Ontario and women in politics. Before and after her presentation a number of people who obviously knew her through various sources chatted with Kathleen.

Corinne Palmer nicely thanked Kathleen who kindly indicated she would donate her honorarium to charity.

By John Weatherburn