Former Premier McGuinty talks about political change

Dalton McGuinty comes to Queen’s campus to talk to students and faculty

McGuinty speaks about his time as Premier to Queen’s students and faculty on Monday

Former Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty visited Queen’s on Monday to talk to students and faculty about his experience in political leadership and promote his book Making a Difference.

The event, jointly organized by the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, a Queen's research centre, and the Queen’s Department of Political Studies, packed the hosting room in Sutherland Hall to capacity.

“You are here in such good numbers,” McGuinty joked. “It has left me asking the question: who the hell were you expecting?”

After taking 10 minutes to introduce himself and the book, McGuinty opened up the floor to questions from the audience.

Students asked McGuinty questions ranging from what he thinks about gender representation in Canadian politics to what he thinks about provincial debt. In his answers, McGuinty spoke about his experience in public leadership and the difference between a political leader’s public reputation and their actual character.

“Reputation is just who you think I am. Character is who I really am … leaders put their character ahead their reputation,” McGuinty said.

Although he regards his term as Premier as progressive, McGuinty said he wonders how his leadership will be viewed by future generations and what will be considered outdated.

“I sometimes wonder, when he gets a little older, what [my grandson] is going to wince at what I did or what I said [as Premier].”

Political studies professor Jessica Merolli said she encouraged her classes to see McGuinty speak. She hopes the talk helps her students think about how politics change over time and understand how people come to political conclusions, she said.

“Looking at how other people look at the world and learning from them is what we should be doing as politics students or as a person interested in developing as a thinker.”  

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