Irony as Lyn McLeod receives Order of Ontario as Premier Wynne watches...

Today the Order of Ontario was given to many people here in Toronto.  One of those to receive the honour was Lyn McLeod, former MPP, cabinet minister and leader of the Ontario Liberal party. She was first elected in 1987 and remained in Queen's Park until 2003.

Lyn McLeod, Ontario
Liberal Leader 1992- 1995
In 1990 the Ontario Liberals were in a mess. They lost the election to Bob Rae, they had several interim leaders in the run-up to the 1992 leadership convention. Ms McLeod was one of the favourites, and won the leadership on the fifth ballot by nine votes.

Following her election as Leader the Liberals, lost some by-elections and the party started to flip flop on policy to attract and or keep more rural voters.  One of the policies she jettisoned was Bill 167, same-sex benefits law. Her party had been supportive but suddenly decided to vote against passing this equality bill.  Something I am sure had David Peterson still been leader the party would not have taken. Ms McLeod however had no doubts about it.

The Ontario Liberal party threw the LGBT communities under the bus for hopeful electoral success. (For the record 12 NDP MPPs also voted against the bill.) The electoral success wasn't there. Due to being seen as flip-flopping on issues, the Liberals went from likely to succeed the NDP in 1995 to losing to Mike Harris and the Progressive Conservatives.

Today Ms McLeod received the Order of Ontario. She was the first woman elected leader of an Ontario political party and served as an MPP for many years. Like Kathleen Wynne, she broke through a historic barrier. I can't imagine what it was like today as Premier Wynne looked on as Lyn McLeod received her Order of Ontario. McLeod aspired to be premier. Turns out, somewhat ironically that Ontario's first woman premier Kathleen Wynne is gay, a member of the community that McLeod found politically expendable.


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