The last time I interviewed a sitting Premier of Ontario was several years ago when my former colleague, the late John Badham and I sat down with then-Premier Dalton McGuinty, Kathleen Wynne’s predecessor.
John and I (mostly John, as he was so good at that) grilled the Premier on the requisite issues live on-air here at the corner of King and George. However I had a different challenge.
At the time our daughter Ashleigh was involved in fundraising at her school for a humanitarian trip to Honduras, and they were looking for items for a silent auction. I did some research and saw that the Premier was also the father of a daughter close to Ashleigh’s age and, like Ashleigh, had been involved in humanitarian pursuits.
So I decided to hit the Premier up for a contribution to the cause.
With no advance warning. Bold as I might have been, I thought…”how could he say no? I put him on the hot seat…”
In fairness, it’s not exactly polite to back such a high-ranking elected official into a corner like that without setting it up first, and his communications official would have had every right to dress me down afterwards. But McGuinty just smiled, played right along and said he had a couple of very good Raptor’s tickets – his own personal season’s tickets, apparently and thus not an expense to taxpayers – that he would gladly donate to the cause, and elect to stay home that night.
True to his word, in a couple of days two Raptors tickets for an upcoming game arrived, along with a hand-written note from the Premier wishing the event well and congratulating Ashleigh on her efforts with Friends of Honduran Children to fly halfway across the world, spend time with some orphaned kids and help swing a hammer to build them a new orphanage.
The tickets did, indeed fetch a princely sum.
I won’t be trying the same stunt on Premier Wynne. Her Director of Media Relations & Senior Press Secretary was, briefly, my supervisor for a time, and I’m afraid of her.
So I’ll behave this time…