Tag Archives: ontario provincial election 2007

Green Party A Hit, Green Candidate Hit By Car

I was away for the weekend without much access to the internet, and it’s taken me until now to clear out the 1000+ emails and unread blog posts I accumulated. Now I feel like there’s so much backlogged information to talk about I don’t even know where to start, so I’m going to just get it all out of my system in one go. But read on, it’s good stuff.

1. Toronto Centre Green Party of Ontario candidate Mike McLean was hit by a car. He’s OK, but I had to fill in for him at a debate. No word yet on whether it was a targeted assassination attempt or not. My guess? The car itself recognized Mike as a Green candidate and was asserting its instinct of self preservation.

2. After one week of campaigning, Thomas Walkom writes in The Toronto Star that “if I had to pick a winner for the week, it would be Frank de Jong’s Greens.”

3. Also in The Star, Ian Urquhart says that The Greens have hit a nerve, and provides a good outline of what we stand for and why voters are finding our platform so attractive (we’re currently the only party with any momentum in the polls).

4. Yesterday, Metro Morning had a good debate regarding the three options for dealing with faith-based school funding: a. keep the status quo (fund only the Catholics), b. fund all religions (Tory’s plan), or c. fund no religions, creating one public school system. Unfortunately, they failed to mention that there is a political party (the Greens) who support that third option, so the majority of Ontarians who agree with us are on their own to figure out there’s a party they can vote for.

5. Which, by the way, is a really important reason Frank de Jong should have been included in tomorrow night’s leaders’ debate. Without him there, important issues will not be raised.

6. So, since we weren’t invited to the leaders’ debate, we’re throwing our own. And, unlike the official leaders’ debates, everyone’s invited. It takes place tomorrow (Thursday) evening starting at 6pm at the Pantages Hotel. We’re going to reenact the debate live, with Frank adding his own responses. I’ll be playing the part of Dalton McGuinty. (Yes, seriously.) You can watch it live on gpo.ca.

7. In strange and slightly hilarious news, Eye Weekly has used my photo in a story that doesn’t actually mention me. WHAT?

TVO Battle Blog: Religious School Funding

Crossposted to tvo.org. Today’s question: “An Ipsos-Reid survey released on September 10 reported that 62% of Ontarians are against religious school funding. Did John Tory make a mistake politically by promising to fund faith-based schools?” (400 word limit)

Currently, Ontario uses public money to fund the schools of one denomination of one religion (Catholicism) to the exclusion of all others. On two separate occasions the United Nations has censured Ontario for this clear discrimination on the basis of religion. There are historical reasons why this may have made sense back at the time of confederation, but surely we can agree today that the status quo is unfair and unacceptable.

Given that, I personally concluded several years ago that there were only two options: we must either fund all religious schools or none. And there, in a nutshell, we have the positions of the Conservatives and the Greens, respectively. The fact that the Liberal party and the NDP argue that our government should continue to discriminate on the basis of religion is beyond my comprehension (particularly the cynical Liberal position, which is to pretend to oppose the funding of religious schools, when what they’re actually opposing is the equal funding of all religions).

On this specific issue, therefore, I don’t have much of a desire to criticize the Tory position too strongly, since at least it advocates for fairness. I do not believe, however, that their solution is workable or acceptable to most Ontarians. The Liberals are at least right when they say that the money to fund religious schools would inevitably have to be diverted from public schools, and I’m not sure I want my government getting into the business of deciding which religions are “legitimate” enough to deserve school funding. Did John Tory “make a mistake politically?” Maybe. More importantly, I think he’s mistaken in thinking that his solution is the best for Ontario.

The Green Party position [pdf], on the other hand, is to create one publicly funded school system, where children of all religions and creeds can learn together, and from each other. It is the most realistic and sensible position, and enjoys the support of most Ontarians. We can do it without opening up the constitution, just as other provinces have already done. In addition to resolving the current inequality, this will also eliminate duplications in administration, facilities and transportation between the Catholic and public school boards, getting more out of every education dollar. For me, it’s the obvious choice.