Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dalton's Feeble Reponse

Buried deep in the bowels of today's letters page of the National Post is - no, not Iggy Puff's ca-ca, but close...

Wait for it - Dalton McGuinty's responds to his pal Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka, who had written a lengthy op-ed in the Post on Aug. 29, expressing his extreme disappointment over McGuinty's stand against Faith-Based Funding, and that Dalton had warned that it would negatively affect Ontario's "social cohesion."

Blink and you would have missed this gem, but the smell gave it away.

The Premier takes exception to his friend's suggestion that he has "taken the road of divisiveness rather than the road of inclusion."

What we then get is some kind of political war-room bafflegab that was surely written by one of his brilliant advisers:

The Conservative approach to government was to sow strife and opposition. That divisive approach to leadership turned our classrooms into battlegrounds and cost our kids 26 million school days lost to strikes and unrest -- and caused private school enrolment to skyrocket.

Ah yes, the good old Harris-bash play. I'm sure that Rabbi Bulka found that most edifying and relevant to the discussion.

Obviously, McGuinty is try to stir up the fear-factor again. He doesn't apologize to Rabbi Bulka and the Jewish community, and he really doesn't address the issues at hand.

Harris = conservative = Tory = bad

Now where could he possibly have come up with that shtick?


Bob in Ontario said...

Aw, Dalton just wants to maintain the monopoly power of the Ontario Teachers Union.

Anonymous said...

Yes, poor Warren's fingerprints are all over McGuinty's letter. It's becoming a bit obvious.

Perhaps Toronto and GTA voters will choose Tory over McGuinty not on what Kinsella advises but purely as payback for the mess Miller's making of his city.

Annie said...

Wow.. that was just... ummmm... lame.

(not you, the McGuinty response)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yeah, Annie. 'Lame' is a word that would also have fitted nicely in the title.

Louise M. said...

In his response, McGuinty says Tory will remove half a billion dollars from the public system.

How ever does he come to that conclusion? At under the item Investing in Public Education (PDF doc. page 7)contains the following:

"John Tory’s plan calls for an $800 million increase in funding for public education over 2006/07, climbing to an increase of at least $2.4 billion by the final year."

That projected expenditure also appears in Tory's fiscal plan (PDF doc. page 5). It states:
"Part of the additional $2.4 billion will support expanding
the public system to include faith-based schools."

So, unless I'm misinterpreting the numbers, we're talking new money.

It appears McGuinty's trying to mislead and cloud the issue of funding.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Louise, that item bothered me too, but I didn't mention it because I didn't have the figures to support my concerns. Thanks for your input.

I think he really needs to be called up on this. I hope John Tory responds in the Post.

Gabby in QC said...

Once again, I'm reluctant to wade into Ontario's affairs .... but ....
I believe supporting faith-based schools could have unforeseen and unwanted consequences down the road.

As has been pointed out by others in previous threads, if the premise is to fund faith-based schools, then funding must be made available to ALL faiths. And that includes faiths whose tenets may be contrary to some traditional Canadian values.

Now, if one recognizes that multiculturalism has NOT been successful in building a cohesive integrated society with shared values, but instead has encouraged the creation of ethnic enclaves where newcomers continue to fight their old country's battles, then supporting faith-based schooling does not make sense.

Would those who support faith-based schools also support children being taught by some radical religious leader who embraces what many Canadians would view as extreme fundamentalism, of whatever denomination?

Let's face it, we are not living in the 50s, where everyone quietly went about their business in an unobtrusive way, and tried to blend in.

If parents want their children to receive religious instruction, then courses in religious instruction should be incorporated into the regular public school curriculum, and parents can choose to have their children enrolled in that class or not. Parents who choose that option should pay a fee for that religious instruction.

Please understand, I have nothing against any religion per se. However, our society is becoming more and more fragmented, so we certainly don't need other irritants to add to existing societal tensions.

Bruce Stewart said...

Only two provinces were required by the Constitution to run parallel school systems - Ontario and Québec. Both were originally religious - Protestant and Catholic - because, in 1867, Catholic was mostly "French" and Protestant was mostly "English". New Brunswick and Nova Scotia managed exemptions.

In 1890, Manitoba settled the "schools question" by moving to a single system. That's the way it is everywhere else in the country.

In 1977, Bill 101 in Québec began the process of dismantling Québec's minority school system. Access is now restricted and the system slowly dying off.

That leaves Ontario, where the smart answer probably isn't to allow anyone who calls their school religious to sup at the trough of public money.

Sorry to say that - it would be nice to support John Tory on this - but I do think it would be better to find a way to make it easier to have a school that doesn't follow the Ontario curriculum, have to hire Teachers' Federation teachers, etc. as an alternative to the absolute mess Ontario schools have become. Let the "religious" pay for private schools of their choice; let the Catholics pay their way; this is one historical anomaly which probably shouldn't have been in the British North America Act in the first place.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gabby, thanks for your input. Sometimes a voice from outside the province is better because your POV is less obscured by partisanship.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Let the "religious" pay for private schools of their choice; let the Catholics pay their way;

Bruce, I agree with that part of your comment, and the rest tends to support what Gabby said.

To be honest, the concerns you bring up are ones that hit me the first time I heard of Tory's proposal.

But the Jewish community is right. It's not fair that Catholics have their schools fully funded and none others. The United Nations agrees with them.

So I propose that we just change all Catholic schools to public, make religious instruction an after-school class paid for by the parents, and call it a day.

Anonymous said...

Bruce said that the move to a single system in N.B. is the same in other provinces.

No, it's not. Six provinces with the exception of the Maritimes province offer some portion of funding for faith-based schools. Did also doesn't stop there with some provinces which have opened door and fund choice of all types not just religious ones.

Moving to fund all choice is my perferred option. That way we put the power in the hands of the parents who vote with their feet and get their child the education they need, not that which if forced upon them or one that they can not support.

The Society for Quality Education has a great study on its website that surveyed parents and the reasons WHY they opted out of the public school system. You'll be surprised to learn that while religion is one of the reasons it's not the primary one. Safety, and things like parents didnt' like the social engineering and quality are just some of those other reasons.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Alberta even offer help for parents who homeschool too?

Ontario is so behind the times where education is concerned it's not funny.

What I don't understand is why more parents aren't more angry in Ontario as to how bad a system they have?

You'd think one of the richest provinces would be more pro-active to things like choice and funding.

Tory's plan's ok. It's a start at getting the discussion going on choice in the province. That's good on all fronts.

If you think for one minute that public schooling is the true picture of Ontario education you'd be wrong. Add private, alternatives(both in and outside school boards proper), homeschooling.

Parents have to take back their rights to choose the path of their child's education. Choice allows that to happen.

In the USA corporations are starting to offer kids who can't afford to go to private schools but whose families would choose them if they could afford it, grants to attend corporate private schools.
This is a huge initiative that allows those with the least means to make choices too.

Dalton's taking Ontario back to before the NDP.

Anonymous said...

so, we should get rid of a system that is superior to the public system because? socialists don't believe in god? all children should receive an equally poor education? i could go on but i won't.

Mike said...

Premier McGuinty shows a lack of principled leadership by sidestepping the main issue at stake in the controversy over funding Ontario’s non-Catholic faith-based schools, which is that the current arrangement is based on official religious discrimination in violation of all standards of fairness and civil decency.

And he provides no justification for his claim that funding 53,000 children in non-Catholic faith based schools will lead to social ills, while funding 675,000 children in Catholic faith-based schools, including the McGuinty family for generations, has produced positive social results for all Ontarians.

It seems clear that in reality McGuinty himself supports publicly funded faith-based schools, and is opposing John Tory’s principled proposal to extend equal funding to the small excluded minorities, in an ugly attempt to stir up the divisive (and diversionary!) aspects of an issue that he believes he can benefit from in the coming election.

Dave said...

It is unfair and dishonest for Premier McGuinty to suggest that the money to fund the small minority of non-Catholic faith-based schools will come out of public education. It will come from the tax dollars of the families who use these schools, which are now part of a $2 billion provincial surplus. Until now this money has been diverted to pay for other programs, not to mention slush funds, while the affected families must pay a second time for the education of their children in a manner consistent with the transmission of their culture. Ontario schools are funded by per pupil grants, so it is inaccurate to claim that extending fairness as Tory is proposing will reduce the funding to public schools. Expanding the umbrella of public education will increase, not decrease, the total funding for public education. McGuinty’s zero sum claim is the worst sort of divisive fear-mongering.

Moebius said...

Of course McGuinty is going to demonize the use of public money in religious's election time, boys and girls!

It should go to no religions, or all, preferably the former.

It's just another gift from Tory to the Liberal sinking ship.