TVO Battle Blog: Losing Faith

Crossposted to Today’s question: “How would you interpret John Tory’s announcement of a free vote on the religious schools question?” (400 word limit)

I’ll need a few days to know for sure, but at the moment I can’t help but feel it represents the death of my hope that this campaign would rise above the useless partisan wedge-issue fear-fest it’s been.

Is John Tory’s position on religious school funding divisive? Yes. Should he have raised it in the first place? I don’t know. I disagree with almost every position the man’s taken over the last few months, but at least he’s not so politically cynical as the Liberals and NDP that he would spend a whole campaign pretending to “oppose the funding of religious schools” when really what they mean is “unless they’re Catholic schools, because they’re not as scary as those Muslims over there.” Or, at least, that’s what I keep hearing whenever they talk about it. (The Green position, that we should merge the Catholic board into the public board and create one publicly funded school system, is explained here.)

Regardless, the reality is that the Liberals have kept this issue on the agenda to the exclusion of all others because that’s what’s best for their party–what’s best for the province be damned. Didn’t someone say something about spending $40,000,000,000 on nuclear power? Should we maybe talk about that before we create deadly radioactive waste that will be around for a million years? Should we maybe talk about the tritium that will seep into our children’s drinking water?

Didn’t someone say something about a climate crisis? Should we maybe talk about what we’ll do when the farms that produce our food can no longer grow as much (or anything) due to shifting weather patterns?

Didn’t someone say something about a referendum? Should we maybe talk about this once-in-a-lifetime chance to make democracy better? Should we maybe talk about how MMP tends to create more positive, issues-based election campaigns?

Now that Tory’s made this announcement, I fear that instead of allowing us to move on he’s simply thrown more wood on the fire, ensuring that we’ll never get around to the list of issues that matter more. For example, today’s blog question was going to be about the doctor shortage. Sorry folks, we’re not going to deal with that problem in this election. Please take a magazine and wait. The doctor will see you in four more years. Maybe.

5 thoughts on “TVO Battle Blog: Losing Faith

  1. Actually, I’m not sure whose driving the distraction. I’ve been asked by someone in the audience at every single candidates meeting.
    This is an emotional hot-button topic that merely distracts from all serious discussions that need to take place.
    Most people are focussed narrowly on their own problems, almost to the exclusion of all else. The majority don’t even care about planning ahead or looking around at bigger issues. Of course the press doesn’t help, since their key focus is on “controversy” because that’s exciting.
    It’s a bit… discouraging.

  2. Ron, the Ontario Greens adopted the “one school system” policy long before Tory made it an election issue. We did so using a grassroots member-driven process, and because it was the right thing to do on the basis of equality. The OSSN and the GPO both happen to agree (in general terms) on this one policy issue, but neither organization “supports” the other, and I’m not personally aware of any membership overlap.

    The page you link to is full of too much fiction to respond to.

  3. “The Ontario Greens adopted the “one school system” policy long before Tory made it an election issue”

    Were the Greens going to make this an election issue? Tory did. He shouldn’t have. The election outcome is an embarrassment and the OSSN can take some credit. You may want to check into how close the Greens worked with the OSSN.
    Did organizers work for both the GPO and OSSN?
    Did they co-host events?

    “the right thing to do on the basis of equality”

    There were other options to ensure equality.
    The Green-OSSN option is the least doable. Something about a constitutional amendment. What do the Catholics think? Should it matter?

    Sell it as “equality”, “fairness”, “inclusiveness”, “secularism” or “cost effectiveness” but looking at the OSSN members and supporters and their mission and actions, something else becomes apparent.

    “Go to and find out what some people are doing to minimize the zealots. And tell everyone you can so the word gets around.” POSTED BY: Bryan Kerman

    Which zealots are we talking- the secularists or religionists? Why would the GPO pick sides in a debate where people of different faiths accuse each other of intolerance? Sure debate the origins of the universe at Starbucks-do you drag it into an election to suit some factions agenda?

    You want to take on inequality; there are more pressing causes to focus on. But I didn’t hear much of anything else during the election.

    Take the GPO wherever you want left, right, center. Just be upfront and let voters know what is behind the policy so they can make an informed choice.

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