Maybe I'm biased, but I like Dalton McGuinty. He has always been kind and supportive to my family. The Premier has an amazing knack of doing the little things that inspire loyalty - recognizing a staffer's accomplishments, attending an event, just popping by to visit. More than once during my tour at Queen's Park I would be in an office, visiting staff or Members over something when McGuinty would just walk in to see how people were doing. It was never about checking up; it was always a genuine expression of compassion.
Premier McGuinty was essential to Jim Brownell's achieving his goal of putting Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry back on the political map. There were all the funding for hospital and school projects, infrastructure and programd like the EODP, but above and beyond that, his commitment to the community never wavered. Not during the challenges of the Cornwall Inquiry. Not when it would have been easy to write the riding off after the series of plant closures. McGuinty was there, every step of the way.
I will never forget the Premier's speech at the funeral of Bruce Crozier, a family man much loved by the Liberal Team. Bruce had left politics to spend time with his grandchildren, an opportunity he never got. McGuinty, a family man, obviously felt just as strongly the weight of politics on his family as Bruce did. You've never seen a man show such strength, such recognition of responsibility as McGuinty on that day.
Above and beyond all this, the man affectionatley known as McG was an exemplary boss. I never worked directly for him, but knew many of his team. Everyone spoke highly of "the boss," always. The man was always respectful to his staff; he trusted them to do their jobs. I have a soft spot for Tracey Sobers, in particular, but there have been so many great folk who have gained from being in his employ.
The key trait that stands out for me - Premier Dalton McGuinty is an unabashed optimist. I don't know where he gets the strength to keep the positive going - I think he has an intuitive understanding of positive psychology. Whatever his trick, the Premier never lost sight of his purpose - to lead the province forward - or his challenge, to aspire Ontarians to follow him into the unknown.
My favourite quote on leadership:
“People out there can despair on their own. They put us in a position of leadership so that we will bring them hope.”
That's Dalton McGuinty's legacy, to date. But there are many pages that can still be written.