Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne visits Humber College
By: Jane Burke
Premier Kathleen Wynne visited Humber on Monday and sat down for an interview with Humber News to talk about her province wide campus tour, changes to OSAP and social progress in the time of Trump.
Before her interview the Premier toured campus facilities and spoke with students.
Wynne started her visit in the Learning Resource Centre accompanied by Humber President Chris Whitaker, and IGNITE President Ahmed Tahir.
“It’s open 24 hours a day? I had no idea,” said Wynne.
Students from the LRC’s virtual reality lab showed the premier how they use virtual reality to train for emergency response situations.
On the second stop of the tour the Premier played video games designed by students in Humber’s usability lab.
The “live lab” allows students to test the usability of their interactive projects.
The tour ended in the newsroom where media students produced a short interview with the Premier.
During her interview Wynne revealed she worked at Humber for a brief time in the 80’s.
The Premier is very familiar with education in Ontario from her time as a school trustee and Minister of Education.
“I think community colleges filled a very important gap and created space at the same time,” said Wynne in response to a question about the 50th anniversary of Ontario community colleges.
Wynne also gave a nod to former Ontario Premier William Davis who oversaw the opening of 22 community colleges in 1966.
“He really saw the necessity of linking education more closely with the labor market and the workforce.”
Unlike Wynne who is a Liberal, Davis was a Progressive Conservative Premier from 1971-1985.
Despite party differences Wynne says she still discusses education with Davis.
“He and I still can have good conversations about about how important education is because that was for him, the foundation of our society and I believe the same thing.”
When asked about upcoming changes to OSAP the Premier said she hopes education will become more accessible to those from low income families.
Wynne says students from low-income homes, “are participating at about half the rate of students from high income backgrounds.”
The new grant system plans to cover all tuition fees for 150,000 students who come from families with an income lower than $50,000.
“It was student groups who said to us you know you’ve got this 30 percent off tuition grant and that’s great. But there is a group of students who actually need more than that,” said Wynne.
During her interview the Premier touched on many issues, including the negative tone of the recent U.S election.
“I found much of the rhetoric that was in the political discourse during the American election very disturbing.”
Wynne is the first female premier of Ontario and the first Canadian premier to be openly gay.
“We have made progress over the last 50 years, we have gotten to a better place in terms of our expectation of each other. It’s our responsibility to continue to voice those values.”
Watch the entire interview.
Scroll down for more photos.