Along with these Semester I tasks, we are getting ready for a new slate of Semester II classes... a double workload whammy! I've also had a couple of my kids here this week and have been otherwise occupied with my new ... er... dating activities. :-)
Ontario's new provincial premier*, Kathleen Wynn, is openly-gay, partnered and the mother of three adult children. She's the first openly gay premier in the country's history, although there have been plenty of openly-gay politicians elected to at all levels of government in Canada, except for the prime minister's office.
*It should be noted that Ms. Wynn was NOT elected by the people of Ontario in a general election. Rather, the current Liberal premier resigned after 23 years in politics and Liberal party delegates elected her at a recent convention. The Liberals have been in power for nine years and face an uphill battle whenever the next election is held.
We've had our share of closeted politicians who were revealed to be gay only after they died, but the days when a Canadian politician could be in the closet are long gone. Richard Hatfield, former premier of New Brunswick, was widely rumoured to be gay throughout his long political career in the 1970s and 80s. It was apparently okay for a Canadian politician to be gay as long as he didn't "flaunt it", whatever that means.
Flash forward to 2011, when any Canadian politician snubbing the gay community would be widely viewed as taking a political risk. This happened last year when the mayor of Toronto (Rob Ford ...a buffoon and an idiot) did not attend Toronto's 2011 Pride festivities.
A few things struck me about Ms. Wynn's appointment as premier:
When Ms. Wynn came out at the age of 37 over twenty years ago, she and her partner Jane Rounthwaite and her ex-husband arranged to live in neighbouring houses so their three children could go back and forth freely.
This is an ideal, accepting and mature arrangment which demonstrates a strong commitment to the children's well-being. It would go a long way to allay one of the greatest fears of closeted married fathers; that of losing contact with their children. It reminded me somewhat of our summer arrangment, when my soon-to-be-ex-wife spends the entire summer at our friend's cottage a few kilometers down the beach from my home.
I hadn't actually heard about Ms. Wynne being gay in the national media until she mentioned her partner in her acceptance speech, although it was widely known in her home area. Today, the focus of a report on CBC Radio was not: "Is Ontario ready for a gay premier?" but this new question.