Two party, but ah de same sad song dem a play
Poor people money lean back and rockaway
Dem raise everyting from oil to Craven A
So how dem no raise up everybody pay
Emergency - Vybz Kartel
Yes silly season is amongst us here in Toronto with next Wednesday, October 10th, being provincial elections. As with the silly season everywhere , the atmosphere is alive with the sounds of soon to be forgotten promises being thrown left, right and center. (Still sadly elections in Canada are so much more boring that elections in the Caribbean. We know all a dem a lie we can at least get some jokes out of it.)
What can I say that I haven't said before? For years now Government has been failing the people of Toronto and the GTA, an area which without stretching the truth I'll readily call the economic engine of Canada. Will a new provincial government change things? Not bloody likely!
Still I wanted to say a bit on this election actually more so a bit on the Conservative party of Ontario's efforts to get elected.
Now it would be way too easy for me to blame the Conservatives for all that ails Toronto. After all amalgamation and the downloading of social services to the cities were their babies and years later the city is still shell shocked by that double whammy. Former Premier Mike Harris was not idly called 'the Knife' after all, in fact he might have been better off co-opting Kordell Stewart's 'Slash' nickname when one really looks at his impact on the GTA and the many social and educational programs which were eliminated or pared down to within an inch of their life during his regime. Want to know why transit fares are going up almost every year you could probably put the blame on his downloading transit funding to the cities too.
But to their credit, the Conservatives have tried and in some sense succeeded in distancing themselves from the Mike 'the Knife' days, ably assisted by the short term memory of the masses and the unkept promises and inept management of current Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty. A new, kinder, gentler more inclusive Conservative party seems to be the angle that they are pushing for this election. And a big part of their resurgence has been new Conservative leader John Tory. (Guess he was born to be conservative with a name like Tory.)
Now I'll admit I'm not really a big fan of the Conservatives but John Tory gets props for at least attempting to make them more palatable to the denizens of the urban areas. Not sure if I blogged about it (but I thought about doing so anyway) but Tory is the only provincial leader I've seen around the city, formal functions aside, since the last elections and not only that but the places I saw him it was like he was actually reaching out to caucuses like visible minorities who are generally ignored and neglected by the Tories. Must have something to do with his Toronto background. He did after all run for Toronto Mayor back in 2003. (In hindsight, if only we had known that Miller wasn't strong enough to successfully lead this city.)
The thing is there is a fine line one must walk in politics. History has shown that. Appeal to the wider masses to get those swing votes yet maintain the loyalty of your core constituents. Alas in this present campaign Tory has failed to do that.
If he had only just kept a solid platform, done the usual we'll cut taxes, we're more trustworthy , we wont (openly) tief ya money like the Liberals, Conservative party thing, then given the performance of the incumbent Liberals he stood a chance of wresting away the reigns of power. Instead in what has got to be a monumental error on the scale of Bill Buckner,World series Game 6, 1986 Tory has in essence thrown it all away, gambling on what wasn't even an issue before the campaign started. (Not that throwing it away is necessarily a bad thing seeing as some folks like me still remember the Mike the Knife days and ain't about to let the Conservatives wipe that from our memory anytime soon.)
Still Tory has given us a classic display here of what not to do when you are running a campaign. So many issues to deal with; power, health care, hospitals, education, money for cities, transit, employment even the tried and true conservative bedrock of being tough on crime. Does he choose one of those as his focus? Nooo! What was the big issue my man decided to tackle; government funding for private religious schools.
Cheese on bread den! Look whoever are his advisers they just need to be fired right away.
Ok so maybe that wasn't supposed to be his big issue, maybe the media blew it out of proportion but just mentioning that opened a can of worms from which Tory has been unable to untangle himself. That issue is effectively sinking his ship.
Look, first off its an issue where he was clearly pandering and bad pandering at that. The Conservatives were trying to make inroads into mainly the Jewish (I'm allowed to use that word without claims of anti-semitism right) vote and the recent immigrant Muslim vote. Fine I admit trying to make inroads in those caucuses isn't a bad idea. Only thing is private Religious schools? Really? Come on now! Everyone else is going to get upset about this issue. Everyone!
Proposing this was just a bad idea from the start. OK so maybe it started some questions as to why we have a Separate Catholic school board here which receives public funding (long story legacy thing, involved Quebec at one point blah blah blah) but aside from opening that discourse just a bad bad idea.
For one, the existing public schools are seriously underfunded. Is why you think all them lil pickney a try sell chocolate raisins and almonds at Yonge n Bloor on evenings to raise funds for school project? Schools aint have no money! Programs been cut, some public schools struggling to maintain the basics. Now you're saying I want to take the existing financial pie which is less than sufficient for the already funded schools and cut into it even further to give money to private religious schools? Umm no, you're potentially going to lose votes from every parent who sends their kid to public school. Think about it man, think about it!
Also take into consideration that a large part of your core caucus as Conservatives has always been the rural mainly Christian conservatives (as opposed to those hippie downtown liberals) who more than likely send their kids to a public school in Kenora or St Thomas or Manitoulin Island or some other small town in Ontario. These folks will not be happy, and rightly so, losing funding so you can cater to a few special interest groups with your private religious schools idea. OK, so they may have a few Christian schools that may benefit but for the main part their number is probably insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Outcome loss of votes.
Then, in this day and age, one of the first things most folk think when they hear privately funded religious schools are Islamic Madrasahs, or more distorted schools teaching jihad and preparing the next generation of terrorists. Hey, they are just Islamic schools but blame the media for all the negative press on Madrasahs.
Now think about it. I mean its bad enough someone or the other in the U.S is always going on about Canada being a haven for terrorists but now you want to give them more fuel for the fire so that they can distort the facts some more and claim that Canada is the devil next door full of Al Quida in waiting ready to run across the Rainbow bridge and pass the supposedly lax border security and do crazy damage in the US. Plus its not only Americans who think that way. Alot of folk up here will believe that we are funding schools that teach jihad. Plus many folk will have issue with those schools cause they separate genders in the classrooms as well. All sort of problems with that line of thinking but that is what you'll have if you go through with this.
Not a good idea John, not a good idea.
And to top it all off, is not like you even check whether some of the people who you thought these religious schools would be benefiting like the idea. In fact in a Toronto Star recent article many folks of certain religions were saying that basically they prefer public school cause all the cultures and religions can mix. Most votes loss there John.
Even some of your candidates been backing away from you on this issue. Their constituents have spoken and said we just don't like this idea. John you going to end up like Robinson Cruseo on an island without even a Man Friday.
So how do I say this politely? John you messed up ...... bad, real bad.
And now a week before the elections you're back peddling to say now that you wouldn't force the public to fund private religious schools if elected but you would have a referendum on the funding instead to see what people want. Sorry guy flag on that play. Loss of yardage repeat down (Had to get in a football reference since he was the CFL president back in the day). YA digging a bigger hole for yourself! Dude this thing might not just lose you the elections, it might even lose you party leadership.
I don't really know what to say to you. All I can think of is pray, boy pray. Pray long and hard and ya might throw in some fasting in there too cause fa right now as the ol people used to say it look like you goose cook.