Expert says premier’s gender makes no difference

A University of Toronto professor says having a female premier will not change the nature of Ontario politics.

On Saturday, Kathleen Wynne won the Liberal leadership and will become Ontario’s 25th premier. She defeated principal contender Sandra Pupatello and four other candidates during the convention held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Maple Leaf Gardens this weekend. Nelson Wiseman, a U of T political science professor, says the leader’s gender does not matter.

“Having a female premier to me does not make much of a difference,” he said. “Times have drastically changed in the past 40 years with women in Canadian politics… We presently have five female premiers in Canada already. This election (would be) the sixth one.”

Wynne said in an interview prior to her victory that her win would signal a different approach.

“I think this will show Ontarians how far women have come in politics. We need a leader to accomplish tremendous goals; my team and I have demonstrated that,” Wynne said.

Wynne has served in the Liberal cabinet as minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Education and Transportation. She is the MPP for Don Valley West.

The five female premiers in office across Canada are Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador, Alison Redford of Alberta, Pauline Marois of Quebec, Eva Aariak of Nunavut and Christy Clark of British Columbia. Wiseman said the difference in these provincial offices is not whether the premier is a man or a woman.

“It boils down to leadership,” he said. “Who will best represent Ontario? Opinions in regards to having female premier comes down to a function of interest and inclination too.”

Kim Campbell was the Prime Minister of Canada in 1996 and Michaelle Jean served Canada as Governor General from 2005 to 2010.

“No matter what you do in life, no matter where your path may take you… Stick to what you love and just follow your dreams,” Wynne said.