Crossposted to tvo.org. Today’s question: “How would you interpret John Toryâ€™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.