UPDATE: Premier’s Town Hall Won’t Be At The Caboto Club

Premier Kathleen Wynne. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld, Blackburn News)

Premier Kathleen Wynne is looking for a new venue in Windsor to hold her town hall meeting after the booking at the Caboto Club drew fire from the Progressive Conservatives.

In a release Monday, MPP Lisa MacLeod called on the premier to cancel the booking at the Caboto Club, which only allows men who are Italian to be board members. Women are allowed to be members of an auxiliary board that does not have voting rights.

Manager Ron Moro at the club told BlackburnNews.com he did not want to comment but did say the booking was “never confirmed completely anyways.”

MacLeod questioned why Wynne chose the Caboto Club in the first place for the event scheduled for February 15.

“It turns out that Kathleen Wynne is all talk when it comes to making Ontario a better place for women and girls. What kind of message does this send to little girls that the premier of Ontario is speaking at a club where women are viewed as second-rate,” she said.

Wynne’s press secretary, Kate Moseley-Williams, responded to BlackburnNews.com via email Tuesday morning.

“As soon as we learned of the issues with the Caboto Club, we began looking for an alternative venue to host the event, and will provide that information to you when it is confirmed,” she wrote.  “Women make up an integral part of our economy and society and, as you know, Premier Wynne is committed to supporting a fair, competitive, and prosperous Ontario for everyone.  That commitment extends to working with partners who reflect these values of equality and inclusiveness.”

The Caboto Club is one of the largest community clubs in Windsor and has hosted many political events, including past visits by Wynne and some scheduled by the Progressive Conservatives.

As for the rule behind the controversy, Moro said, “I know it’s in the news and whatever, but we’re not commenting. We’ve already dealt with this issue years ago, and we’re not going back to it.”

Back in May 2010, the men-only rule reared its head when former Essex town councillor, Denisa Blackburn complained she was ineligible for membership because of her gender.

At the time, Moro defended the club’s constitution saying it was part of its heritage.

BlackburnNews.com has reached out to Wynne’s office asking if a new venue has been chosen and if the town hall will still be held on February 15 but has not received a reply as of yet.