Monday, September 10, 2007

An Epilogue to my Meltdown

If John Tory loses this election it's simply because of the dominance of the faith-based schools issue and his faux pas in mentioning creationism in the same sentence as evolution.

John has fallen into the same "trap" that has befallen other Tory leaders - he's trying to please everyone in the PC partisan camp. Someone, somewhere has said to Mr. Tory - "Hey, John. Guess what would be a great idea to campaign on? Funding faith-based public schools. You'll keep the support of the soft social conservative vote who think you're a Liberal."

What inevitably happens, though, when you run on a policy that isolates those of us who are just slightly right-of-centre, we run away. We either vote Liberal, or we stay home. We like the rest of the platform, but it's that one policy that bugs us.

Some have argued that it would be better for the Tories to stick to a "pure" fiscal conservative/social conservative model. Somebody else tried that too. Stephen Harper has done just fine without us Red Tories. He's enjoying accolades the country over, a huge lead in the polls, and will no doubt go down in history as the single greatest Prime Minister ever. At least, that was the plan, when he ditched us for his "principle over pragmatism" world tour.

I like John. I supported him for leader, and still do. Truth be told, the Progressive Conservatives are my only political home right now and they are the only chance of defeating the Liberal Party.

There is no question in my mind, that it is fair to fund all faith-based schools or fund none. There are only two parties promising fairness; the Ontario Progressive Conservatives and the Green Party of Ontario (although, I am surprised the NDP haven't picked this up).

The curriculum of those faith-based schools will be determined by the Ministry of Education.

The depth and breadth of those faith-based schools will be determined by the Public Education Fairness Implementation Commission.

These schools may hold religion classes to talk about all kinds of religious type stuff that I don't believe in.

Those are the facts.

In other words, I reject your reality and substitute my own! :)

Updated: Fixed a typo.

10 comments:

Mike said...

John Tory's principled stand on equal faith-based school funding shows his integrity, especially when put beside the hypocritical and unprincipled fear-monger of McGuinty on this issue.

In my opinion this is starting to pay dividends, even among those who would rather not fund faith-based schools.

Mike said...

"The curriculum of those faith-based schools will be determined by the Ministry of Education.

The depth and breadth of those faith-based schools will be determined by the Public Education Fairness Implementation Commission.

These schools may hold religion classes to talk about all kinds or religious type stuff that I don't believe in."

And these are the reasons why many who are of the "faith-based" persuasion (John Pacheco, for instance) don't like Tory's plan - they see it as a trap to force them with the carrot of public money, to teach things they don't believe in or to regulate that stuff they do believe in (creationism in science class, for instance).

So the far-right religous folks don't trust it and the centre right (and certainly a great many Red Tory's) don't like it. Who, exactly, was this policy supposed to be aimed at winning over?

Poor politicking combined with naked pandering to win votes was all this was and despite what my retarded namesake above says, is going to hurt Tory - as it should.

I agree that at least Tory holds a consistent position, but not the one that we can afford.

I, of course, favour having no government funding (and thus no taxation for it) for any education - but that is really a completely different debate.

Anonymous said...

From Mulroney to Harris to Harper, Progressive Conservatives are fiscally irresponsible.

I'm tired of the yo-yo effect of political parties. Conservative lower taxes and raise the deficit, Liberals raise taxes to pay down the deficit.

When will Conservatives learn, that if you hate government how can you govern effectively?

Dustin Leath said...

James, glad to see you come to the same relevation that I have. This policy on fiath based schools is one thats hard to stomach, but if I think of all the time I have spent specifically thinking about the chance to get rid of McGuinty, there arn't even enough days in the election campaign left for me to justify that with Tory.

You know, I was thinking about all the times everyone was complainign about Tory not having principals, or policy, and the second he makes one, everyone hates him for it. This shows that John is ready to be a great Premier. He knows that this is an issue of fairness, and it is about leadership.

You cant fund catholics to the exclusion of all others. If you're of that opnion Like Mr. Mcguinty, I would suggest that is being racist and discriminitory.

But last of all, this is 1 issue, in what will be an issue filled campaign. 1 issues that affects under 2% of the population. Let's make our decisions on things like heathcare, leaderhsip, other areas of education, and ofcourse taxes, something 100% of Ontarions are paying more of Today in Dalton McGuinty's Ontario

Jim said...

Mike,

I, of course, favour having no government funding (and thus no taxation for it) for any education - but that is really a completely different debate.

Oh, you can't drop that and then walk away :). Now, I'm curious.

Jim said...

Mike @ 9:39,

I don't think there will be a lot of gain for this policy, to be frank - targeting the parents of 53,000 students doesn't make a lot of sense when it causes an uproar throughout the province and opens the door to easy political pot shots from your opposition who turn your entire campaign into a one issue platform.

Granted, there is no question that Mr. McGuinty is fear mongering, but that's politics.

Mr. Tory should have seen this coming and planned accordingly.

Scott Tribe said...

I figured your abandonment of Tory wouldn't last too long ;).

Mark Dowling said...

The dippers are on the same page as the liberals, although one has to compliment them in that their stance, while wrong, unfair and beholden to the teacher unions is at least consistent. After all, Sorbara doesn't believe in public education (his kids went private) and McGuinty was for public funding for faith based education before he was against it.

Jim said...

Scott said, I figured your abandonment of Tory wouldn't last too long ;).

They upped my Kool-Aid dosage. :)

Mike said...

"Oh, you can't drop that and then walk away :). Now, I'm curious."

He he, I thought you could not resist.

Ok, so as an anarchist and libertarian, I don't think the government should be in any business, and that includes education.

I currently pay about $200 per child per year on top of my mill rate on my home. I do not get to choose my child's school - even if I live close, I must go to the one the Board tells me to or cannot go to the Catholic school at the end of the block because of the wait list and the fact that I am no Catholic. The quality of the education my kids get is diminishing compared even to when I was a kid. And my 8 year old has more homework in grade 3 than I did in grade 8.

But what choice do I have, right? It either put up with that or home-school (and my wife's sanity level is worth more than education at this point).

My money is better spent.

I think parents and other interested parties should be allowed to spend their money and invest in the education they want their children to have. If I want an open, secular school with excellent science that doesn't teach creationist nonsense except in history or social studies, I'll pay for it. If the education is not to my liking, I'll take my kids (and the money and support that goes with them).

So, if a school wants to get my money, my kids and my time as a volunteer, it is going to need to show me it is a good school, is recognized by other good schools and has a curriculum accepted by Universities and Colleges which then produce well educated people. Schools that teach unscientific nonsense, anti-social behaviour or racial hatreds will simply not be those schools - they will not survive. They will not compete and will not survive, except in very niche markets.

And before anyone yells "education for the rich!" none of this precludes individuals from giving to schools in less affluent areas, from the poor from self-organizing in order to educate their kids. Right now there are plenty of kids in our public system getting crap education from under funded schools (especially natives) so allowing parents the power to organize cannot make it worse.

I think this kind of system can focus on true education instead of credentialing, something Jane Jacobs bemoaned in The Dark Age Ahead. It could open more avenues that are now closed such as more open apprenticeships, on the job training and mentoring, as well as class room work.

Given all that, I realize that the government will remain in the schooling business. If they do, they should run one public and accessible system, with no religious overtones.

Sorry this is so long...perhaps I need a full post at my place to explore this better.