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Public editor: Why we don’t refer to Kathleen Wynne as Premier

Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne gets on her campaign bus in Toronto on May 5, 2014.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

During the Ontario election campaign, Kathleen Wynne should rarely be referred to as Premier. She is the provincial Liberal Leader until the voters decide on June 12 who will lead the province.

This is a long-standing policy of The Globe and Mail and some other media organizations to recognize that while a campaign is under way, the legislature is not sitting and the focus is on politics and trying to convince you how to cast your vote. It is not on the business of running a government.

The one exception is for work that is truly as head of the province. For example, if all the premiers were meeting the Prime Minister, she would be Premier Kathleen Wynne.

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This is not the case during campaign speeches, debates or any other political events when they are politicians. The same is true for all provinces and for the federal government and should be for municipal campaigns as well, once a government is not sitting and for any political events such as debates during a campaign.

Part of this policy is to recognize the fact that these people are first and foremost party leaders during the weeks of campaigning. But it is also an attempt to level the playing field in news coverage.

Technically the writ doesn't drop until Wednesday, but the campaign is already on. (The writ is a formal document, signed by the lieutenant-governor, which officially dissolves the legislature.)

I will write later this month about efforts to balance coverage and I would be interested in hearing your views at publiceditor@globeandmail.com.

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About the Author
Public Editor

Sylvia Stead has been a reporter and editor at the Globe since 1975, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She won the Board of Governors Award there in 1974. As a reporter, Sylvia covered courts, education and Queen's Park. More

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