Sunday, September 30, 2007

Premier Flip-Flop does it again

Not that the Ontario Lemmings will notice or care, but the Star(!) caught McGuinty flip-flopping again - McGuinty flip-flops on senior rebates.

I guess when a Conservative does it, it's a gimmick.

When McGuinty does it, it's a 'shared responsibility'.

Eat it up, Ontario!

I'm going back to my reading.

I give up - Bumped again with not-so-anomalous update

If the Liberal-Lovin' Lemmings of Ontario want four more years of lies, obfuscation, 'health' taxes, hidden taxes, half-truths, cover-ups, crime and lawlessness, union-pandering, discriminatory education funding with questionable results, banning everything under the sun, long waits for medical attention, back-door funding, never-ending native stand-offs and broken promises - then go for it.

Just don't complain. Not one of you.

You don't have the right.

Not for the next four years.

* * * *
Photo explanation here. But the ones not paying attention should have been lemmings; not swans.

* * * *
Update: As Sandy says here, Ontario is already funding a faith-based school and no, I'm not referring to the Catholic system.

The National Post has an article today called "Mennonite school used against Liberals". But Education Minister Kathleen Wynne sees Eden High as an "anomaly":

Kathleen Wynne, the Liberal Education Minister, yesterday described Eden High as "an anomaly" and said its existence does not justify the fundamental changes that Mr. Tory is proposing.

"There is a difference between a single school that is in the system and making a systemic change across the province that would introduce a very different way of educating kids," she said, adding, "I don't see it as a contradiction."

So, any other exceptions to the unbending rule, Ms. Wynne?

* * * *
Sunday not-so-anomalous update:

Apparently, yes. There are more exceptions. True Blue Ontario notes them here. (We talking Eden, The Protestant Separate School Board of Penetanguishene and F.W. Begely in Windsor now). Any other anomalies, Minister Wynne?

True Blue (great name there) rightly asks:

The question remains, why do some get choice, while others do not? There needs to be an open and honest discussion and debate on alternative or faith based funding in the Province of Ontario.
(TBO has posted a new link to this Windsor Star article.)

Lorrie Goldstein's column this morning - Heading for a Hangover - addresses the irony and bigotry of the Liberal position:
...On the other side, the Liberals -- the self-described party of tolerance -- have used this issue to pander to Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry in an attempt to scare enough people into voting Liberal to secure a majority government.

According to them, the fact five other provinces fund multi-faith schools in some way is not possible in Ontario. Here, they argue, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh schools will get public funding and the next thing you know, it'll be religious cults worshipping the Great Hairy Muffin.

And always, just below the visible surface of the Liberals' position, there's the coded appeal to bigotry in the post 9/11 era -- that it's those Muslim schools that really need to be watched...

Why can't Ontario voters see what's going on here?

Angelo Persichilli makes a good point here:

Tory has the wrong position if he wants to become premier, but his integrity and leadership have to be appreciated. He could keep defending his position but, being an important decision for MPPs too, he might allow his members to vote according to their conscience. That wouldn't be a compromise but a fair way to address an issue that involves the conscience of all the people involved.

I've been saying that for weeks now. Are you listening, John Tory?

Oh-oh! Another anomoly!!! - Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. (H/T to 'Anonymous' in comments.)

Good article here by John Vanasselt, who is director of communications for the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools.

Or how about this one from NOW, May 2001 where McGuinty and company flip-flop all over funding for religious schools?

Right in Niagara - Liberal Greg Sorbara has amnesia about Eden High School.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The other big issue in the October election - Updated with great link

Update: This is a fantastic piece by Peter Woolstencroft et al from the University of Waterloo - Electoral System Change a Risky Move.

I hope to examine this more thoroughly in the days to come, but please feel free to comment here.

* * * *

Ian Urquhart reminds us to pay attention to the October referendum issue - that MMP could become law if we're not careful. (How MMP could sneak to victory).

One thing for sure - If MMP gets in, there's no turning back.

* * * *

Part 2 - Why I'm Voting against MMP (Star)

Please Remember Caledonia

Just a quick update on the various Caledonia issues.

There was a bit of mud-slinging at the local Candidates' debate in Brant county, as would be expected.

Meanwhile, a 15-year old was arrested in the beating of home builder Sam Gualtieri, and police are still looking for two 18-year olds.

At the same Stirling South site, Dave Van Elslander, of Venture Homes said Thursday night he and John Kragten "have been advised the deal - hailed by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) as a way for projects in disputed territory to carry on - meant handing jurisdiction over the land to HDI."

So they (wisely) refused to sign, and the fragile peace is now in jeopardy again:

Van Elslander said when the tentative deal was struck, he and Kragten were told they would not be required to pay a development fee but could make a donation to a worthy Six Nations cause, such as literacy.

They agreed, but when the deal to allow the subdivision to go ahead was drawn up, he and Kragten decided to find out what the use of the term jurisdiction meant.

"Basically we've been advised it meant everything was over, that's it and they own it," said Van Elslander.

In his statement, MacNaughton made it clear the HDI expects Ontario municipalities to fully consult with the Haudenosaunee of Six Nations before issuing permits for any developments in "unceded territory."

There will be a "Remember Us " March on Oct. 8.

Please remember them Oct. 10.

Getting rid of a stubborn wart

Dalton McGuinty's ludicrous campaign strategy of trying to promote John Tory as "Mike Harris: The Sequel" (where's the beer and popcorn?) is unlikely to work, according to Ryerson marketing professor Rob Wilson - 'Grits look to Mike Harris for Political Gain':

He said negative attacks can be effective in an election campaign, but only if they ring true with voters.

"To cast John Tory as Mike Harris II, there's no resonance in that," Mr. Wilson said. "Harris cut education spending, Tory is talking about spending on religious schools. They're radically different."

But Liberal strategists likely think that the Ontario Lemmings can be easily fooled. And with good reason. Polls are indicating at least a Liberal minority, if not majority.

Even Dalton's broken promises are the fault of the P.C.'s!

Blaming his decision to introduce the health tax on the Conservatives, Mr. McGuinty yesterday sought voter support nonetheless.

"So now what I'm saying to Ontarians, 'You know what folks? Here we are, warts and all. We made a tough call. You make the decision,' " he said.

Within minutes, Mr. Tory had responded in kind.

"I think he'd better order in a very big shipment of that stuff you spray on a wart, because I think he's got a lot of work to do," he said.

Warts are stubborn though, aren't they? You think they're gone and they just keep coming back.

Come on, Ontario Lemmings! You know what to do. It might be painful, but it will only hurt for a few minutes.

On October 10, excise that wart once and for all!!!

For the love of Mike.

* * * *
Saturday Update: Great pic of the Big Wart here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"That's not true"

If a Premier who is rumoured to have not kept his word tells a voter that what he (the voter) says isn't true, does that mean that he's calling that citizen is a liar?- Globe:

Ontario Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty shifted his campaign strategy yesterday by ramping up his attack on his archrival, warning voters of a return to Mike-Harris-style health cuts if the Progressive Conservatives win the election.

But as Mr. McGuinty touted improvements his party made to health care during a campaign stop at an Ottawa hospital, he was rebuffed by a terminally ill cancer patient who accused the Liberals for not financing certain cancer drugs.

Mike Brady, 63, refused to shake Mr. McGuinty's extended hand, telling him he has cancer and "you're not helping any."

"That's not true," Mr. McGuinty replied, before continuing his tour of the hospital.

So was the cancer patient lying, Dalton? Or were you?

More at the Star.

* * * *
Update: Blogging Tories are raging over this one!

Jack's Newswatch (from last night): McShifty screwed up today!

Choice for Childcare
: Ontario politicians are letting people die while fighting over religious schools.

And Matt is fuming about the sad state of Ontario health care in general, and especially regarding Samantha.

This is a great article - Star: McGuinty has a rough day. It touches on the hospital incident and then lists all the other problems Dalton had yesterday:

Meanwhile, senior cabinet minister Monte Kwinter, who is Jewish, told the North York Mirror he would not be a "hypocrite" and publicly oppose Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory's proposal to fund faith-based schools.

Kwinter, whose six grandchildren are in faith-based schools, was the only member of the Liberal caucus to vote with the former Conservative government for a tax credit for faith-based schools. "Constituents in my riding supported it, and I'm their representative so I supported it," he told the Mirror.

"Certainly I would be a hypocrite to say that suddenly I don't think it's something that should be done," Kwinter said.

When asked about the division in his party on the issue, McGuinty said: "Monte has been very consistent throughout ... and I appreciate that and I respect that."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Free advice for John Tory - (Bumped with Update)

It is excruciating to be a (small c) conservative blogger and watch helplessly while a single issue such as Faith-based funding seems to hijack the whole election and all the other worthy issues that need to be addressed.

Mr. Tory, if I were your campaign manager, I would be advising you to declare that the Faith-based issue would be a vote of conscience based on the individual MPP and his or her constituents wishes; not unlike the federal vote on same-sex marriage. (Although some leaders did not allow a free vote for their caucus.)

This gets you off the hook, so to speak, and allows democracy to prevail.

Each MPP would be responsible to his or her constituents on the matter.

Please, John. Don't let Dalton get another majority.

At least don't give it to him gift-wrapped.


* * * *

Update: It's been a busy day and I missed this, but Joan Tintor has the whole story here - McGuinty hits iceberg named Kwinter:

...Kwinter was the only member of the Liberal caucus to vote with the last conservative government for a tax credit for faith-based schools.

"Constituents in my riding supported it, and I'm their representative so I supported it," he said. "Certainly I would be a hypocrite to say that suddenly I don't think it's something that should be done."

Kwinter noted he has six grandchildren in faith-based schools.

Good catch, Joan!

* * * *

Licia Corbella says John Tory should have done his homework first - Lesson for Ontario.

Christina Blizzard has her own take on things - Loose Cannon Candidates Serve No One.

Post - Faith funding may sink Tory, expert says. (Yeah, that's news...)

* * * *

John Tory should read Don Martin's column - "Liberal Help for Tory Majority". It relates to Federal Politics, but there are some valuable points in there for any politician:

The most insightful map to victory is a book written by University of Calgary professor Tom Flannagan, a friend of the Prime Minister's and Conservative campaign manager for a trio of elections.

His top ten commandments for happiness on the hustings include the need for party unity, policy moderation, ethnic outreach, show-no-mercy negative advertising, gagged-candidate discipline, baby-step policy changes, youth-friendly technology and improved communication.

John. Did you catch that? Policy moderation! Baby-step policy changes!

Star - Tory admits sales pitch lacking. Ya think???

In other news, hell has frozen over

Busy day ahead.

For a change of pace, check out Red Tory's thread - Wake me when the election fever passes.

Red and I actually agree on something (briefly). Strange times indeed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

'Dalton McGuinty has failed seniors' - and 'moms'

John Tory is looking out for seniors:

Mr. Tory announced that if elected, a Progressive Conservative government would establish a 5% annual cap on property assessment increases for as long as a person owns their home.
"Dalton McGuinty has failed seniors" who still live in their own homes, Mr. Tory said.

This is another issue of fairness. Seniors on fixed incomes should not have to worry about exorbitant property tax increases. Feeling independent for as long as possible is a crucial issue for seniors. It is a matter of pride and respect. Failing health is enough of a worry. They don't need to be taxed to death before they actually do die.

On a tactical level, this is brilliant. Boomers are entering their retirement years now and they are looking for advocates.

Meanwhile on the election front, all three major parties seem stuck according to SES president Nik Nanos:

With only 14 days left in the campaign, the poll shows the Liberals with 41-per-cent support of committed voters, the Progressive Conservatives 33, the New Democrats 18 and the Green Party eight.

Nanos observes that with Tory at 31 per cent and McGuinty at 29 per cent, "they are in a statistical tie for best premier"and that "no one really has the upper hand on the leadership front". This could be a problem for Tory with his slogan "leadership matters."

Nanos suggests that the Conservative campaign has failed to attract female voters:

The campaign has focused more on issues that appeal mainly to men, such as promise- breaking, taxes, nuclear power and cracking down on what the leader has called "illegal occupations" by native protesters.

Well, I think that's a fairly sexist comment. Keeping your word is important to women too. I'm not at all sure that the issue of integrity only matters to men.

I don't think Toronto mom Fiona Marshall would agree with Mr. Nanos either (Lying to 'mom' could be costly on election day):

I'm definitely not going to vote Liberal," said Fiona Marshall, the leader of the outdoor fitness class for new mothers, and a former teacher herself.

As her eight-month-old daughter Ailie plays on the grass, Ms. Marshall explained that while she voted for the party in 2003, she cannot do it again.

"This is a 'mom' thing to say, but we don't lie in our house. You don't make promises you can't keep."

Ms. Marshall said the Liberals' problem clearly went beyond the financial problems they inherited after taking office. Mr. McGuinty cannot lay the blame there for the many promises he did not keep, she went on.

"Wherever my politics lie, morally I can't support a party that has done basically nothing that it promised to do around education," Ms. Marshall said.

"I'm normally left of Liberal. But for the first time in our house, we're talking about voting right."

The Society for Quality Education appears to support Ms. Marshall's viewpoint - McGuinty hasn't delivered on his promises.

Former BC Liberal Education Minister Christy Clark also berated Dalton McGuinty for his broken promises and hypocritical attitude on Faith-Based funding.

John Tory can only hope that there are many more Fiona Marshalls out there; especially in Toronto.

Monday, September 24, 2007

'Progressive' parties seem to be against new ideas in Ontario

What a radical idea! John Tory is proposing that we consider letting Mom & Pop stores sell local wine and beer!

Oh wait. Alberta and Quebec already permit that irresponsible behaviour.

Well, there are plenty of reasons to rage against this craziness. It might encourage under-age drinking.

Oh wait. They're already selling cigarettes. What's the difference?

"Mom and pop'' stores already sell age-restricted products -- such as tobacco and sexually explicit magazines -- and have some of the toughest age-verification programs in North America, said (Dave) Bryans, who suggested the province could start with those 3,000 stores that have electronic-verification systems and go from there.

Well, John Tory is back-tracking. He seemed cool to the idea before!

Oh wait. He's just saying let's discuss it. Let's keep an open mind.

Well, no matter what, convenience stores just can't be trusted. Right, Dalton?

Seriously though, why do Progressives seem so resistant to change in certain situations? What is the common factor?

Could it be that the protection of union monopolies trumps everything else?

* * * *

: 'Anonymous' just reminded me that Ontario is already selling alcohol "all over this province", according to OPSEU's Leah Casselman. And she is not pleased about that.

More hypocrisy, double standards and two-tiered justice.

Related: Small beer equals big gripes - Post. This is not a new concept:

In 2005 Ontario's Liberal government commissioned a report into liquor and beer sales, which recommended the government sell the LCBO and allow beer sales in corner stores. It was rejected out of hand by Finance Minister Greg Sorbara, who said the recommendation "simply is not acceptable to the government. We don't think it's in the public interest."

John Tory's proposal applies only to products made in Ontario wineries and breweries.

Is Coyne correct?

I have to admit that I find this whole MMP issue quite tedious.

I can't imagine the majority of the population even caring enough to educate themselves on what is an extremely complex question. However, several people have asked me to respond to Andrew Coyne's Op-ed in Saturday's National Post (Why Conservatives should support proportional representation), so I will attempt to fulfill that request now. I've also made a few comments at Christian Conservative and Diogenes Borealis.

If I am interpreting it correctly, Coynes' basic argument is that the present system ("First Past the Post" - FPTP), encourages a dull middle ground of policy or McGuintoryism as he refers to it. (Why not TorMcGuintyism?)

Anyway, that is a moot point. At first Tory's ideas seemed very close to McGuinty's, but lately he's been throwing out new ideas at such a rapid rate that the Liberal attack dogs can hardly keep up.

In a nutshell, Coyne is saying that MMP is preferable "because the 'winner take all' dynamic would have been broken -- parties get roughly the share of the seats their proportion of the vote would suggest, rather than the highly leveraged payoffs under FPTP -- all parties would have less fear of taking risks".

I'm not sure that 'taking risks' is going to sell MMP for me.

The supposed advantage of forming coalitions doesn't really do much for me either. As Paul Wilson wisely notes in his letter to the editor in today's Post (Coyne is wrong about MMP):

...So the issue is not stable government but responsible government, which depends on our collective ability, as electors, to toss a government out. In choosing between the existing system or the new proposal, Ontario voters should not think about instant gratification ('The Greens have seats at last!"), or about which end of the political spectrum gets the advantage, but about the long-term consequences of being governed by successions of coalitions over which we, the electors, no longer hold the power of life or death.

Excellent letter!

Now one of my regular readers, Kingston, made an interesting proposal in the previous thread:

Joanne, I think I have come to a reasonable conclusion concerning MMP and if it was implemented as follows I could live with it, say after all the math is done, the Libs end up with 8 extra seats the PC 5, the NDP 4 and the Greens 2 just for example, instead of the parties leaders picking off a list of cronies they have to fill these seats with those members who lost but had the highest voter support. i.e. the Libs 8 highest percentage vote winners that never actually won are appointed, kind of like the wild card position in Major League Baseball, at least that way the members are partial accountable to the voters and have actually stood for election.

This sounds very close to the STV (Single Transferable Vote) system that has been proposed in B.C., would certainly help make the process a bit more democratic, but it still doesn't seem to address the coalition concerns that the Post reader had noted.

I'm sure this debate will rage on between those who are passionately interested in change, and those who are concerned about the ramifications. Lots of good points were made by both sides in a previous post here.

But what will the folks who can hardly be bothered to vote do? Assuming they can even drag themselves out to the ballot box, will they just close their eyes and pick?

I do agree with Coyne's last line: "...start changing minds today".

But do it for the side you truly believe in. Change just for the sake of change is not necessarily a good thing.

In today's Record Geoffrey Stevens reminds us that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

I'm not sure I totally agree with him. The system may be 'broken' inasmuch as there is a lot of voter apathy out there, which is antithetical to a health democracy.

I'm just not convinced that MMP is the panacea.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Abandoned in Canada's Beirut - Bumped with big update!

I don't know how this one got by me yesterday.

Christie Blatchford, who recently returned from Afghanistan, has filed a report from another lawless and explosive situation - Caledonia, Ontario.

In her Saturday Globe column (Their Caledonia House is No Longer a Home), Christie gives us her own unique perspective on the unbelievable nightmare that Dave Brown and Dana Chatwell have been forced to endure. The events leading up to the couple's decision to sue the provincial government and the Ontario Provincial Police for $10 million are well documented:

...Life in their isolation has meant having to present a "passport" to natives when leaving or returning to their house, having their car searched by masked men at barricades, being refused access to their property, having no mail or garbage removal and enduring threats, noise and their house being ransacked.

All the while, police refused to intervene, including ignored 911 calls, they said...

In fact, 911 told them, "Don't call again. We can't help you".

In Caledonia. In Ontario, Canada.

I am not making this up.

Christie goes on:

Finally, early on the morning of April 20 last year, the OPP raided the property to enforce the order, but were ultimately overrun and forced to leave Douglas Creek Estates.

That was the day Mr. Brown, watching from his house, realized that he and his family were on their own, that, as he says, “When the sun goes down behind my home, I don't live in Canada, I live in Beirut.”

Please read the whole column very carefully. Read about the terrifying night that Mr. Brown, after having missed the native-imposed "curfew", was desperately concerned for the safety of his wife and so drove towards his home anyway. Read how he ended up in a cell overnight with his wife left alone.

Read how he discovered a video camera hidden in their kitchen and aimed at the table.

Read how their house was trashed and obscenities scrawled on the walls.

Read how the natives set fire to bales of hay near their home and threatened to burn it down, while an OPP officer (allegedly) watched and did nothing.

Christie notes that Dave Brown feels this whole situation has been mismanaged from the start:

...lawlessness has beget lawlessness. Each victory – routing the OPP, the government buying the land and allowing the natives to continue to occupy it, the state's failure to proceed with contempt orders etc. – has emboldened the natives who are his neighbour.

Meanwhile, the Leadership debate organizers felt that the question of Caledonia was considered inappropriate for a debate forum.


Please don't shrug off this story. If it happened here in Caledonia, it could happen anywhere in Ontario.

It could even happen to you.

* * * *

Update: John Tory paid a surprise visit to Caledonia this morning.(Thanks to an anonymous reader in this thread for the tip).

Meanwhile, George Smitherman accuses Tory of 'stirring the pot'.

He says the Liberal party's focus is on maintaining their fragile majority peace, and that John Tory is jeopardizing those efforts.

Star- Tory vows stiffer protest laws:

Local resident Anne Marie Vansickle, who hosted an earlier visit by Tory, said she feels abandoned by the Liberal government and isolated by measures the provincial police have taken to ensure the safety of residents.

"I believe that Premier McGuinty would like the people of Ontario to believe that this has been a peaceful protest and continues to be peaceful," she said.

"And everybody's aware of all the incidents that's going on – the hijackings, attempted murders, break-and-enters, tire fires, verbal and physical assaults . . . this is the environment that we send our children to every day at school."

Ms. Vansickle! You don't know what you speak of. Everything is perfect in Lemming-land.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Education - Another broken promise

The Liberal War Room's clever manipulation of the media to remain focussed on the Faith-Based funding brouhaha has detracted from the real issue - How well are our public schools performing?

Some advocates for improving the quality of education in the Ontario public school system want to redirect attention back to performance, and to the latest release of provincial tests showing that another key 2003 election promise by Dalton McGuinty has been broken - specifically, that they would get "75% of all Grade 6 students meeting or exceeding the standard in provincial reading, writing and math tests by the end of their first mandate."

In press release by the Society for Quality Education, Doretta Wilson states:

The Society for Quality Education (SQE) is not surprised that Ontario students did not come close to meeting the 75% target set out by the province. With only 64% of the province’s grade 6 students passing their reading test, an average class of 25 students would yield only 16 students who can read well enough for the work of the next grade. The results are even worse in writing, with only 61% of students passing, and math, with only 59% of students passing – down 2% from last year.

Generous increases to the amount of taxpayers’ money spent on various initiatives haven’t translated into improvement,” said Doretta Wilson, executive director. “Test results have flat-lined compared to last year and, in some cases, the results are actually worse.

Once again we find that the Liberal ploys of appeasing unions and throwing money at a problem do not necessarily lead to positive results.

There is even some controversy surrounding the possibility that these standardized tests have been "dumbed-down" in an attempt to improve the results and thereby make the current Liberal government appear successful.

As one of my readers recently commented, instead of being known as the Education Premier, we should start referring to Dalton the "Teachers' Union Premier".

Because as Sandy so aptly notes:

Yes, while Dalton McGuinty was breaking his promises to the people of Ontario, he was keeping them to the teachers’ unions.

* * * *

Related - Check out a few more reasons why you shouldn't vote Liberal (if you really need them):

Officially Screwed
- Trade-offs. I will take Tory's Faith-Based Funding over the Liberal's Lawyer and Crony Based Funding Anyday.

Joan Tintor - McGuinty loses debate: Ads go more negative.

Steve Janke - From the Ontario Liberals to the ALF-CIO to the Working Families Coalition.

* * * *
Sunday Update: Another reason not to vote for McGuinty - Heartbreaking story about an Ottawa cancer patient via Step to the Right.

Toronto Star's Christina Blizzard - Dalton Stumbles, Bumbles Along.

Interesting mention about Working Families in Blizzard's column:

Trust me, the Liberals know all about attack ads. Remember the "Not this time, Ernie" campaign the so-called "Working Families" coalition ran in 2003? Sure, the party claimed not to be involved, apart from sharing their desire to defeat the Tories.

The series of TV and billboard ads portrayed former premier Eves in a very derogatory light. Talk about demonizing him. They were close-up, black-and-white pictures that showed every pore of his skin and portrayed the guy as some kind of lounge lizard.

And while Working Families is a largely union-led coalition, the person behind those ads was Marcel Wieder, a well-known Liberal "dirty ops" specialist.

So please, let's have no Liberal finger-wagging on negativity

* * * *
Tuesday Update: Good site here on Catholic Education - Tomorrows Trust. Lots of great links.

'Don't call again, we can't help you.'

Is this Canada or Mexico?

The National Post has an even more chilling description of the unbelievable nightmare that Caledonia residents David Brown and Dana Chatwell have had to endure.

The couple has now launched a $10-million lawsuit against the provincial government and the Ontario Provincial Police.

Arrogance, thy name is Liberal

From this morning's Star:

Campaign chair Greg Sorbara, key architect of the 2003 landslide when the Liberals won 72 of 103 seats to the Tories' 24, predicted "a strong victory."
"Certainly a majority. There is no appetite in Ontario to change the government," said Sorbara.

Well then. Perhaps we should just cancel the actual vote. No need to bother, right?

Yesterday afternoon, I was listening to a phone-in show from Toronto where the hosts were asking the listening audience if Dalton's broken promises made a difference in how they would vote. One woman called in and said she would vote Liberal no matter what; that they all make promises and everyone knows they won't keep them.

Has it really come to this? Is a promise just a bunch of meaningless words designed to achieve some goal?

If we don't even expect accountability in government, where are we headed?

* * * *

Oh, and here's Warren Kinsella in his 'hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life' moment (background here in case you've forgotten):

And I deserved to get in trouble.
In case you thought I'd forgotten. Which I haven't. And I won't.

Thanks, McWar. Or is it DalKin?

Don't choke on your humble pie.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Couple suing Provincial Government and OPP

I was wondering how long it would take before someone finally said enough is enough.

You won't believe the nightmare this couple has been living in Caledonia. This is happening in a supposedly civilized country!

Well, Premier McGuinty, you bought the land, which the taxpayers had to pay for, and now you're being sued, which the taxpayers will have to pay for.

Meanwhile things seem to be going from bad to worse.

Four more years of this???

* * * *

Saturday Update:

- City Builder Talks about Native Land Claims. Interview with Mike Quattrociocch.

Spectator - 496 Days of Hell.

Spectator - Six Nations Letter a 'Signal' to Talk:
"It's so strongly worded. It's more or less saying we're shutting Haldimand down"

Staggering, but still standing - Bumped with Slimy update

Wow! Did we all watch the same Ontario Leadership Debate last night?

Depending on which editorial or column you read this morning, opinions range all the way from a clear win for McGuinty to an uncontested Tory victory; with Howard Hampton picking up a few points along the way. (Interesting to see the Star and the Record at odds.)

However, the biggest surprise by far was reading Lorrie Goldstein's Point of View - Game, Set and Match to McGuinty. What??????? But on closer inspection, I wonder if Lorrie is suggesting that it wasn't McGuinty's actual performance which won the debate, but rather his handlers' clever manipulation of the media and public opinion:

Even the wording of the questions revealed how McGuinty has convinced everyone -- including the debate organizers -- that a relatively minor promise by Tory is the defining issue.

So is he saying that the Liberal strategists won the debate?

Geoffrey Stevens
doesn't think so. I rarely agree with Stevens' POV, but today I almost choked on my morning java:

Whoever prepared Premier Dalton McGuinty for the leaders' debate last night should be fired. He or she should be drummed unceremoniously out of the Honourable Fraternity of Political Savants and Gurus.

The Liberal strategy was appalling. McGuinty did what a prize fighter should never do - he led with his chin. He opened with a video in which he did a mea culpa, apologizing to Ontarians for breaking his 2003 election promise not to raise taxes. "I hated it," he declared, rather pathetically.

Yes, I wonder who had that brainstorm? Stevens goes on:

I've been covering leaders' debates for years and I have never seen one as one-sided as last night's. If TVOntario's Steve Paikin had been a referee rather than a moderator, he would have stopped the carnage at the 30-minute mark and declared a TKO victory for the tag team of Tory and Hampton.

And here's his knock-out punch for McGuinty:

If other people watched the same debate that I did, John Tory should gain some momentum. He looked stronger and more confident than McGuinty. He looked more like a premier than the premier did. If I were grading the leaders' performances, I'd give Tory an A, Hampton a B-plus and McGuinty, to be charitable, a D.

Will Dalton have time to heal before Ontario voters have to make a final decision? I suppose it depends how gullible and disinterested the electorate is.

One thing for sure. The Hampton-Tory tag team worked remarkably well, as it has in the past when dealing with 'Colle-gate' or Cricketgate, when the NDP and PC's combined force and persistence finally led to Dalton crying 'uncle' and calling in the Auditor General Jim McCarter to investigate the slush fund controversy.

Leadership debates allow the candidates to talk straight to the people. With the exception of those new taped bits at the beginning, the format is relatively free of spin and interference from handlers who try to divert attention and control access.

Make your decision, Ontario.

Do you really want four more years of a healed Dalton McGuinty?

* * * *

Update: Joan Tintor - Liberals didn't lower expectations enough.

Matt - Pundits Agree: Liberal Dalton McGuinty pummeled in debate.

Slimy Update - Check this out (under the category how low can you go?):
September 21, 2007 – I just got this press release in my mailbox. Is it, um, for real?

Coyote Ugly

Toronto – This morning, Howard Hampton showed up at an NDP rally missing his left arm from the forearm down.

“I woke up this morning, looked over and saw John Tory,” said a visibly disgusted Hampton. “Instead of waking him up and having to talk to him, I decided I would rather chew my arm off. So I did.”

Hampton also expressed some anxiety.

“I hope John understand this was a one-night stand and doesn’t try to pursue a serious, long-term relationship,” said Hampton.

When reached for comment, Tory was eager to get on the phone. “I should call him. Do you think it’s too early to call? Maybe I should wait another day. No, I should call him now.”

As Tory and Hampton sort out their unholy love affair, Ontarians across the province are reacting with disgust.

Newsflash: The disgust is not because of Tory & Hampton, Warren.

Saturday Update: Star - Debate hasn't dimmed McGuinty's hope for a majority:

"Well, last night I got to meet our latest glam couple, Howard and John, or as now they are ... affectionately known in the hearts of Ontarians, HoJo," McGuinty told 300 supporters at a morning rally in Vaughan.

HoJo. Cute. Very professional, DalWar. Or would that be McWar? Or DalKin?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The 'ethics' of politics - An oxymoron in the extreme.

Do you think that Dalton McGuinty's re-election efforts to pillory John Tory's proposal for Faith-Based funding have more to do with opportunistic tactics than altruistic concern for public education? Well whatever the reason, polls show the strategy is working.

And the Ontario Liberals appear to have some heavy-hitting support behind them. Why? Because of course, union jobs may be in jeopardy.

In today's Sun, Lorrie Goldstein berates MSM, strategists and politicians who pounce on a perceived weakness and play it to the hilt; deliberately distorting the truth and ignoring clarifications - An Education in Election Coverage:

A proposal by Conservative Leader John Tory to extend public funding to non-Catholic religious schools (Catholic ones are already funded) if they agree to teach Ontario's approved curriculum and meet other criteria, has been transformed by hysterical media and shameless Liberals into a silly suggestion Tory would allow the teaching of creationism as an alternative to evolution in schools.

That's not what Tory's policy -- which has been public for months -- says.

One phone call to the education ministry by the media would have revealed that Ontario's existing, publicly funded Catholic schools only teach evolution -- in the science curriculum.

However they may also teach creationism -- in religious studies and world religion courses, where the context is obviously entirely different.
Tory's promise is to extend public funding to Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and other religious schools, which 53,000 students attend, on the same basis as Catholic schools, which 650,000 students attend, now receive it.

Instead of explaining this, the media, overwhelmingly hostile to Tory's proposal, seized on one poorly worded remark by him early in the campaign, that the "theory" of evolution is still called a "theory" (true, but it's the widely accepted one) and that creationism could be taught in addition to evolution (true, but not as part of the science curriculum) to suggest Tory was advocating what they knew he wasn't -- using public funds to teach creationism on a par with evolution as a scientific theory.

The Tory campaign sent out a clarification a few hours later, but by then, the Liberals were also pretending Tory was saying what they knew he wasn't.

This gave the story "legs." Why? Because the media wanted it to be a story and the Liberals fed them the quotes needed to make it one, even though it had no basis in reality. Typical.

Well said, Lorrie.

And the time-strained electorate gobbles up the sound-bytes without bothering to investigate the issues.

Although Goldstein himself supports a "single, secular, public school system", he suggests we follow the open-minded attitude of Pope John Paul II who "advocated continuing scientific investigation into the "Big Bang" theory of creation, and the theory of evolution, stressing these were not antithetical to faith."

Unfortunately, lying and politics seem to go hand-in-hand, so I doubt we will ever progress to level of adults rather than "'gotcha'" journalists and scheming politicians".

Because in politics, only winning matters, right?

* * * *
Related: Please watch tonight's leadership debate. Info here.

Great op-ed in the Star - Fear of Islamic Schools Based on False Stereotypes.

Also, lots of letters in the National Post under the title Flawed Thinking on Diversity and School.

* * * *
Post Debate Impressions - I thought John Tory handled himself very well tonight. In fact, he looked positively Premier-ish.

A few MSM sources have commentaries already up.

Globe - McGuinty's integrity focus of debate.

Star - McGuinty Put on the Defensive.

Post - Live-blogging the leadership debate.

More from the Post here.

Update on Caledonia arrests

The Hamilton Spectator is reporting this morning that none of the people arrested at the Stirling Development operation yesterday was being charged in connection with the brutal beating of Sam Gualtieri.

I caught a CHCH News morning report that OPP are still on the site and only allowing local residents and construction workers to enter the area.

CHCH also have a great video on their site titled "Protesters Arrested".

Colour me skeptical, but I don't think we've heard the end of this yet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CHCH served with warrant - Update on protester arrests

Caledonia Wakeup Call has posted a video from CHCH TV's Sept. 17 news broadcast.

Apparently CHCH was served with a search warrant to seize tapes in connection with their coverage last week of 'an assault of a Caledonia builder'.


It brings to mind this video of CHCH being threatened by McGuinty's handlers. (See end of clip).

And possibly more intimidation here.

What is going on?

Why is MSM giving the Liberals and the OPP a free ride? This story should be on the front page of every daily in Ontario.

Lots more information at Caledonia Wakeup Call.

Matt has more here at A Step to the Right.

1:30 p.m. - I just heard on 900 CHML that tensions are increasing in Caledonia again this afternoon. Will try to update when more info becomes available.

3:30 p.m. - Matt updates the story in comments. Police move in.

CHML is covering this extensively on the air and will be posting segments later. Listen live.

City TV - 18 Protesters Arrested.

Globe - Caledonia, Ont. Protesters arrested.

Dalton vs the OCCB

An interesting schism in opinion seems to be developing between the Ontario Council of Catholic Bishops (OCCB), and the Catholic Premier of Ontario who as you know, insists that only Catholic faith-based schools can be publicly funded. (Post) - Catholic Schools Debate Vaccine:

It is up to parents to decide whether their daughters get the vaccine, but HPV can only be contracted through sex, and sex outside marriage carries "profound risks to a young person's spiritual, emotional, moral and physical health," the Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement'

The fear is that if Grade 8 girls were to receive the vaccination, it would be sending mixed messages, since the Catholic position is one of chastity and abstinence before marriage.

In their letter, the bishops express "regret" that the program was introduced in Ontario schools without more study and public education. The note urges parents to keep in mind some important considerations when deciding whether to let their daughter have the shot, saying the vaccine could have "unintended and unwanted consequences."

Yes, wasn't it interesting that this program was launched just before the writ was dropped?

Ah, but Auditor General Jim McCarter foiled that plot. I like that guy.

Meanwhile, Dalton has a plan if any Catholic School Boards don't comply:

"But if we run into a lot of resistance from a particular school board, we've already thought this through – we can do it through public health," he said.

And if you recall, the OCCB challenged Dalton earlier, when it came out in favour of public funding for all faith-based schools; essentially endorsing John Tory's position.

Meanwhile, there have been rumours that public Catholic funding may be on the way out, but Dalton vehemently denies it, even though one of his key education advisers has been speculating otherwise.

You know, Dalton McGuinty himself is a perfect example of why nobody in Ontario should fear extremist religious viewpoints being cultured in faith-based schools.

It obviously didn't affect him.

* * * *

Meanwhile, Lorrie Goldstein has a theory on why Dalton continues the fear-mongering offensive regarding faith-based funding.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Now is not the time to do it"

No, I guess not.

McGuinty, stressing he looks “at the world in terms of four-year mandates,” ruled out an end to Catholic funding.

May we have that in writing, please?

* * * *
Update: More here from Clive - The Tip of a Hidden Agenda?

Interesting items from the Star here as well. Read Bernie Farber's account of how Dalton McGuinty's position a few years ago was very similar to John Tory's now.

McGuinty's education adviser Michael Fullan has an article that follows Farber's, with related letters here.

And remember, public funding of Catholic schools beyond Grade 8 is discretionary. Listen to audio here.

Canadian Values can only be Liberal

H/T to Canadianna for pointing out this great column by Christina Blizzard in today's Sun - Defending 'Canadian' Values?

I hope to elaborate on this later, but a nasty cold is getting the better of me. Excuse me while I go cough up a lung.

* * * *

: OMMAG said in comments that I didn't have to elaborate on this, so I won't. I just wanted to highlight what I felt was the salient part of this piece (because Sun links tend to disappear):

What is most troubling is the tone of McGuinty's attack on private religious schools. He seems to imply they are somehow inferior.

I don't think Jewish, Hindu or Muslim parents are going to make the kind of financial sacrifices necessary to keep their kids in private religious school if they weren't getting results.

No, I think this issue is turning on McGuinty. It is insulting for people of other faiths to be told their religious schools threaten the social fabric -- but Catholic schools don't.

Most of all, it is just plain wrong to suggest that turning a blind eye to discrimination is a good ol' Canadian value.

What I find most fascinating about this debate is that Multiculturalism is such a 'Liberal' value - encouraged diversity and such. Why the about-face, Dalton???

Pauvre Steffi

Yesterday's Quebec byelection results were quite entertaining, in spite of having to endure the the translations at CPAC.

However, while watching Stephane Dion's speech in Outremont, I almost felt a measure of compassion and admiration for his graceful acceptance of the historical defeat.

Liblogs are replete with head-smacking introspection this morning and many are questioning Stephane Dion's leadership.

Others see it more as a Bloc meltdown.

Personally, I think the Liberal party should rally behind Dion, and give him another chance.

Why, you ask?

Well, Greg Weston supplies the answer here - No Need to Panic. A byelection is often more of a focus on local candidates than a test of leadership.

You can't buy that argument? This is not consistent with Joanne's wildly partisan, tin-foil helmeted, Tory-entrenched, blinder-encrusted bias?

Well check out the last line in Weston's column. That is probably closer to the truth.

* * * *

Update: Check out Paul Wells, H/T Warren Kinsella.

Monday, September 17, 2007

You're being duped, Ontario! one of the greatest con-artists spin-doctors of all time.

But at least one Ontario resident sees through the smokescreen:

Jerrold Landau of Toronto writes to the National Post:

It is bizarre that 43% of Ontario voters would identify the funding of faith-based schools as one of their top three election issues. All three parties support continuing public funding for the 93% of Ontario's faith-based schools that are already fully publicly funded -- i.e. Catholic schools. Providing an opportunity to the other 7% to enter the public education system and receive funding equal to Catholic schools is not a big change.

What we are seeing here is a significant number of Ontario voters falling for a politically opportunistic and hypocritical attempt by Premier McGuinty to turn a small issue into something bigger in an attempt to deflect attention from the real issues. Ironically, McGuinty himself is the product of publicly funded Catholic faith-based schools and chose to send his children there also.

Ah, very well said, Grasshopper!

And Record columnist Luisa D'Almato would likely agree with you:

McGuinty, whose children enjoyed a free Catholic education, is too busy insulting those who request the same treatment to actually listen to them. He calls their requests divisive and says funding religious schools would "segregate" our society.

(How's that? A Jewish school is deemed "segregated," but not a Catholic school? Do I detect a whiff of a double standard here?)

As for our local candidates, I listened in astonishment the other night at a Kitchener Centre debate when the usually thoughtful Liberal MPP John Milloy gave a flat, arrogant answer, completely unworthy of him, about funding faith-based schools. "I am opposed to it and the Liberal party is opposed to it," he said.

Well, then. Thanks for that clarification, John.

"Kitchener-Waterloo Liberal candidate Louise Ervin, a respected Catholic school trustee, told me years ago that her colleagues across Ontario supported other faith groups who wanted the same rights. "How can we say, 'Support the Catholic system, but don't support the Mennonite schools or the Jewish schools? We can't say, 'Only me,' " she said, very reasonably, in 1995.

Now Ervin appears to have changed her tune:

This week she said the Catholic trustees had only meant to support other groups getting funding if it didn't take money out of the public or Catholic systems.
That sounds like a Liberal version of NIMBY. How Christian!

Anyway, that claim remains to be proven.

D'Almato recommends that a multi-party task force be struck to try to learn from other provinces how a fairer funding system could be accomplished. She wonders why this issue can't even be discussed?

Maybe it's the new abortion.

Anyway, if you're getting sick and tired of hearing all the gaseous emissions from the various leaders, take a break and check out Clive's post.

I guarantee at least a smile. Maybe even a laugh.

Unless you're a Liberal. Or Catholic.

* * * *

Tuesday Update: McGuinty states that he will not follow Newfoundland and Quebec's lead - Star. ("McGuinty rules out vote")

By way of a postscript, local PC candidate Matt Stanson was interviewed on Newstalk 570 yesterday on this topic. I made a few notes and can't swear to their accuracy, but these were a few of the things I jotted down:

Stanson mentioned that the cost extending funding to FB schools was costed on the Leadership Matters site. I couldn't find the specific details there, but then I'm not a numbers person.

He said that if the PC's won the election, this would not happen overnight - It would first of all be voluntary; it would be subjected to an extensive consultation process, and any school wanting the funding would have to meet three strict requirements. There would also be a 1 year pilot project to ensure that Ontario taxpayers are getting 'value for their money'.

John Tory needs to get this message out loud and clear.

Canadianna - Dalton's Dictionary.

Jonathan Kay on Caledonia 'Scandal' - with update

Tonight I received a tip from a fellow blogger that Jonathan Kay had posted a piece about Caledonia on Full Comment.

I had been planning to take a break from this frustrating subject for a while, but Kay's piece is worth considering before I pack it in for the night.

Jonathan Kay also feels that Caledonia could become the most important issue of this election.

...Yet none of the three major candidates are discussing what may be the most important issue facing the province: the ongoing, violent flouting of the rule of law by native protestors in and near the town of Caledonia. The fact that the province's police have consistently refused to take decisive action against the protestors since their illegal activity began in February, 2006 is a significant scandal, one that has sent the message that Mr. McGuinty's government is either unwilling or unable to maintain the basic rule of law...

This is what I've been trying to say this whole past week - If we have anarchy going on, what's the point of worrying about our schools and health system? To me, law and order comes first. The rest follows.

But native thugs have proclaimed that anyone working in the area must get their approval (i.e., pay protection money) first. As in all situations where a central authority refuses to apply the rule of law, mafia-like groups have rushed in to the vacuum and proclaimed themselves a law unto themselves.

Six Nations has decreed that anyone planning to build in the Brant-Haldimand tract has to pay for permits from the SN. If not, there will be repercussions.

The bottom line is that a group of hooligans is openly flouting the government - and Mr. McGuinty has done nothing about it except attempt to shift blame onto Ottawa. Some Ontarians apparently are allowed to break the Trespass to Property Act and the Criminal Code whenever they please - simply because of the colour of their skin. It is an ongoing embarrassment to Mr. McGuinty's government, even if most of the media have grown tired of covering it.

However, Kay doesn't let John Tory off the hook either. He ridicules Tory's suggestion that civil actions be brought against native law-breakers:

Civil actions? That sounds a lot like what the original property owner did in early 2006 when native protestors first squatted on the Douglas Creek Estates. He obtained an injunction ordering the protestors off the land. When the Sheriff delivered it, one of the protestors burned the document, an action that was broadcast on TV.

Yeah, well, thanks Jonathan. You're probably right. And you've just shot down any hope we have here for some of resolution.

When stark reality stares you straight in the face, it's tough to shrug it off.

Christian Conservative spells out the cold facts.

* * * *

Monday Update: Jonathan Kay's piece is now today's editorial.

Also, I haven't got a link to this information yet, but 570 news is reporting on air that talks between the builder and Six Nations this weekend have brought forward some kind of resolution on the second occupation, and construction will resume today.

12:00 p.m. Update from the Spectator - "Native leaders say building can resume".

I've got to wonder why we're bothering with a provincial election in Ontario at all? Clearly the natives are in charge.

3:30 p.m. Update - Protesters are still there in spite of 'agreement' (Spectator).

* * * *

Tuesday Update: 'Person of interest' identified - Star.

Letter sent to the Post - Cowering on Caledonia.

Outremont - Dion's last stand?

Well, MSM and the blogosphere are rife with speculation about today's Quebec byelections. Even a few brave souls at Liblogs are venturing forward to share their thoughts.

Please feel free to weigh in here. It should be quite the ride.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Desperate times call for desperate tactics

In case you missed it, Christina Blizzard gives us her take on the attempt by McGuinty handler Ben Chin to stifle freedom of the press - "Grits try to change the channel".

Caledonia - Blame and impact

There are a few articles in yesterday's Hamilton Spectator that provide some insight into the brutal beating of builder Sam Gualtieri, and provoke more questions.

In "A brutal, brutal attack", reporter Paul Morse has done an excellent job attempting to get versions from both sides:

In an interview, Davies said he, Gualtieri and two others were checking on the home when they saw a protester standing on the front porch.

"They started to heckle us, saying, 'If you want a piece of this, come in here,'" said Davies.

The four went into the home and Gualtieri ordered the protesters out. Davies says he didn't see who threw the first punch, but described Gualtieri struggling with one person while the others squared off.

The 33-year-old said he and a cousin left the house to grab two-by-fours and started back in to discover Gualtieri lying on the floor as he was struck with a piece of wood. Davies said he screamed to natives outside the house for help and the attackers fled.

The native version:

They say the builder and his companions entered the house and attacked them.

They say the protesters were only defending themselves.

Police say they are still investigating the incident.

O.K. If that's true, there should be some native youth out there with bruises or some kind of injuries. That should be easy enough to investigate; especially after Gualtieri was able to I.D. one of them.

Now the OPP is saying that they were 'caught off-guard' and didn't witness the assault:

"Had we seen something taking place, we would have definitely stepped in," said OPP Sergeant Dave Rektor.

The assault took place at the "exact opposite end" of a construction site where a protest, watched by police, was taking place, he said.

The clash appeared to take place at about 4 p.m. Thursday.

Media standing at a yellow tape barricade at the top of Stirling Street saw natives running diagonally across the subdivision to the home on Kyler Court. They arrived at the house within a minute or two.

At the time, police were stationed at the barricade, with some just inside the top of the subdivision.

Other OPP officers were manning a post a block down Stirling Street where they turned away cars trying to approach the development.

So it would seem that the media noticed something unusual, but not the OPP who were busy trying to keep the non-natives away, or so it would appear.

Plainclothes police and one of the developers arrived at the home in time to see a group of youths emerge from behind the house and walk along a berm on the boundary of the site.

No one appeared to stop them.

Why didn't anyone try to stop them?

Rektor said police's main priority was saving the life of the victim and making sure the person got the medical attention needed.

They all had to attend to the victim? They couldn't afford to have anyone go after those who were fleeing the scene???

OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino's office was contacted by The Spectator to speak to the events. A spokesperson said Fantino is on vacation outside the country and is unavailable for comment.

But Rektor said police have been instructed by Fantino to not tolerate criminal acts at protests.

What? Were the rank-and-file previously instructed to tolerate 'criminal acts at protests'???

Joe Gualtieri's story contradicts that of the OPP:

Joe Gualtieri said Ontario Provincial Police officers on the site "stood there, and they did not intervene" until after the beating, when the attackers had fled.

Someone appears to be stretching the truth, don't you agree?

Meanwhile, Caledonia Mayor Marie Trainer warns that "if native land disputes drag on until the end of the year, Haldimand County's economy will take a hit of about $40 million this year."

Further up the Grand River in Cambridge, Mayor Doug Craig is preparing for similar problems.

"Mike (Hancock, Mayor of Brantford) warned us that it's coming our way, and he's quite correct, we know that," said Craig.

Next time you hear Dalton makes another fiscal promise on the campaign trail, ask him if that assumes that the native conflicts will be resolved.

Or will we be hearing about another 'hardest decision of my life'?

* * * *

Related: Check out this link from a few days ago (Globe). Read the last few paragraphs:

But he (Municipal Affairs Deputy Minister John Burke) cautioned that native protests turn a construction site into police business, and even if the builder gets a court injunction ordering protesters off the site, the police will be cautious in enforcing it because their priority is avoiding conflict, the sources added.

"The message to individual developers was: Pray to God that your land doesn't get occupied," said one developer who heard Mr. Burke.