Thursday, October 11, 2007

On the Progressive Conservative Party ...

I'm not going to lie, and I'm not going to delude you into thinking that the results of yesterday's election came as a shock to me. It was disappointing, of course, but not shocking.

The campaign was a long one for me. I was a Progressive Conservative supporter who found himself on the opposite side of my party on two fairly substantive issues - electoral reform and extending funding to faith-based schools. The former was completely opposite. The latter, while I understood the fairness aspect and could support it, I'd have preferred a single secular public school system - Mr. Tory should have campaigned on that.

One of the things you never really get used to, as a partisan cheerleader, is exactly what triggers or does not trigger the electorate to move. If you had have asked me two months ago if allocating a whole 2.5% of a Conservative public education budget (or 2.8%, if you use the Liberal budget numbers) to funding faith-based schools like the Catholic school board or the Mennonite school in St. Catharines, I would have said you were nuts.

Shows to go you, I guess.

That said, the rest of the Progressive Conservative election platform was the right platform for Ontario. The Liberals have successfully branded themselves as "centrist" when in fact they are not - they are what you would call "anything to get elected-ist".

During this whole campaign, I can't remember a single thing Dalton McGuinty said, except for Family Day.

The Progressive Conservative Party must continue to embrace progressive conservatism. It must reconfirm that:
  • The free market can determine and regulate many things, but the free market cannot govern social justice and social equality, and profit cannot be the driving factor behind education and health care. Those things require sound public investment.
  • That individual freedoms must be protected and respected.
  • Fiscal prudence doesn't mean tax cuts or program cuts every month. Fiscal prudence means simply spending when spending is required and not spending when it's not required. If a program is wasteful, or not generating results, you cease the bleed and review. We must recognize that we need sound public infrastructure, that we need sound public investment, we need to make sure that there's a basic fulfilment of public needs. And we can do that and return some of that money to taxpayers - we can eliminate wasteful spending, revitalize public spending, and return what's leftover. Those things are all possible all at once.
The Liberal Party is unwilling or incapable of delivering sound public investments. That's why we need a Progressive Conservative Party.

4 comments:

Abdul-Rahim said...

I think that the points you outlined at the end are great and if all PC's think like that then maybe i'd vote for them (if i lived in Ontario)

Anonymous said...

The latter, while I understood the fairness aspect and could support it, I'd have preferred a single secular public school system - Mr. Tory should have campaigned on that.

You want to tell 670,000 Catholic children and their parents that you're taking away their publicly funded education? Did you want to win this election?

Jim said...

You want to tell 670,000 Catholic children and their parents that you're taking away their publicly funded education? Did you want to win this election?

What are you talking about? Who's taking anything away from anyone?

670,000 Catholic children should go to church for prayer, and a public school for math. That's what I'm saying.

And, by my calculations, we lost the election.

Gila said...

The Maritimes and Newfoundland do not fund any faith-based schools. In fact, these poorer provinces don't have much in the way of school choice. Ontario funds Catholic schools and a myriad of arts-based, sports-based, special needs and even a gay/lesbian/transgender high school in Toronto - but no other faith-based schools. Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC all offer choices in education while subsidizing all faith-based schools. Should Ontario allign itself with the smaller poorer provinces or the larger wealthier ones?!