Opinion

GOLDSTEIN

Wynne’s hypocrisy is breathtaking

By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announces a $10 Million dollar investment to the Canadian Urban Transit research and Innovation Consortium, creating electric powered busses in Brampton, Ont. on Monday April 25, 2016. Brampton transit will be the first to test the new busses. Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announces a $10 Million dollar investment to the Canadian Urban Transit research and Innovation Consortium, creating electric powered busses in Brampton, Ont. on Monday April 25, 2016. Brampton transit will be the first to test the new busses. Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Every so often, a premier does something so hypocritical that it merits national public scorn.

Say hello to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, because in the annals of hypocrisy, she has just recorded one for the ages.

Last month, Progressive Conservative MPP Jack MacLaren was disciplined by PC Leader Patrick Brown after reports that he told crude, sexist jokes at the expense of federal Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon and her husband, at a March 24 cancer fundraising event in Carp, Ontario.

The reported actions of MacLaren were cringeworthy.

According to people who attended the event and spoke to the Toronto Star, he called a reluctant McCrimmon to the stage, put his arm around her, made a sexist comment about her body and told a tasteless joke about her sexual relationship with her husband.

When the story broke, members of all three parties in the legislature were appalled.

In a display of non-partisanship, Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod, tweeted to McCrimmon: “I’m very sorry you had to endure that.”

Brown made MacLaren apologize, stripped him of his caucus and legislative appointments and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.

“I have been clear there is no room for anything less than respect and tolerance in the Ontario PC Party and caucus, in our legislature, and society,” Brown said.

After the Ottawa Citizen obtained a recording of MacLaren’s comments at a previous fundraiser, in which he made vulgar references to Wynne, she called on Brown to boot MacLaren from the PC caucus, adding: “When I talked some months ago about misogyny in our society, the kind of behaviour that this member has demonstrated is exactly what I was talking about.”

Prior to that, Wynne told the Star: “I would fully expect that no one in my caucus would make such a comment ever (as MacLaren made to McCrimmon) and I’ve never had to deal with such a thing.”

Weep no tears for MacLaren. He also had to admit to using fake testimonials on his website after the Ottawa Citizen exposed them.

But now we come to Wynne, who on Tuesday revealed she has in fact had to address allegations of sexual harassment against at least two Liberal MPPs since becoming party leader in 2013.

So, who were these individuals? What were they accused of? What did she do about it?

Wynne won’t say, responding, as reported by The Canadian Press: “I dealt with them in various ways ... The situations were confidential so I’m not going to get into details.”

Asked if she had expelled any Liberal MPPs from her caucus over the issue, Wynne said she was “not at liberty” to discuss “confidential” conversations, in part because “people who brought the complaint forward were not looking for a public process.”

Wynne’s excuse is absurd. Obviously, she could talk about what the allegations were and what action she took, if any, without naming complainants.

Her comments also fly in the face of her earlier statement she has never had to deal with such problems in her caucus.

As NDP Leader Andrea Horwath neatly summed up Wynne’s hypocrisy: “You can’t have one set of rules for one group because you can get a political advantage and then have another set of rules for your own group.”

Recent Forum polls show only 20% of the public approves of the job Wynne’s doing and she would lose the election if it was held today. Not hard to see why, eh?