If not for schools issue, where would John Tory be?

From Monday's Globe and Mail

John Tory's only hope for getting out of the gumbo of faith-based schools is to spend the next three weeks telling Ontario voters that Dalton McGuinty should not be trusted.

If he wants to give Mr. McGuinty a run for his money in the Oct. 10 election, the Progressive Conservative Leader has to stop talking about his proposal to bring private religious schools into the public school system.

The public is adamantly opposed to the idea and that's not going to change even if Mr. Tory can talk to all five million voters about the unfairness of the arrangement that favours Roman Catholic schools.

That means no more talk about bringing 53,000 students into the public system, no more news releases about the inconsistency on the subject from Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty. Just move on.

A new poll for The Globe and Mail shows that seven in 10 Ontarians are opposed to Mr. Tory's faith-based schools proposal. The antipathy is shared by immigrants and visible minorities, who might be more likely to take advantage of the Conservative policy.

The opposition is very intense with one of every two voters saying they "strongly object" to one of the party's key planks. The opposition falls off slightly when the issue is couched in the context of the public funding of Catholic schools. But there is not enough movement to offer the Conservatives much hope that a deeply secular Ontario is willing to further mix religion and education.

The poll, by the Strategic Counsel, shows that the religious-school issue is dragging down Mr. Tory's fortunes. The main findings are relatively unchanged from the firm's August survey - the Liberals, at 40 per cent, hold a six-point lead over the Conservatives with the New Democrats at 16 per cent and the surging Green Party at 10 per cent.

The Conservatives will take some comfort from the fact that their support level hasn't been affected by the controversy that has raged for nearly a month about the party's plan to offer religious schools public financing if they meet Ontario standards for curriculum and teacher accreditation.

But the Tories would be doing much better at this stage of the campaign if it weren't for the schools policy, according to the poll.

Voters give the Liberal government solid marks, with majorities saying they believe that the province is on the right track and that they are better off than they were four years ago. Mr. McGuinty gets little credit for this, however, even though he has been Premier and has driven the reforms in health, education and other areas.

Voters remain ambivalent about the Liberal Leader, with more survey respondents citing their preference for Mr. Tory over Mr. McGuinty as premier. It's a highly unusual finding considering that is the job the Liberal Leader has had since 2003. The poll suggests it's because 76 per cent of voters, including six of 10 Liberals, believe his government broke too many promises.

We have a situation where Mr. McGuinty is boxed in by his reputation and Mr. Tory is dragged down by his schools policy. Given this, the crucial battleground now will be to work on those voters who, like 22 per cent of the survey respondents, believe simultaneously that it's time for a change in government and that the province is on the right track.

Mr. McGuinty needs to emphasize his accomplishments in health and education but he also has to question Mr. Tory's judgment for proposing to help religious schools in an effort to drive down his good leadership numbers. Mr. Tory needs to talk about little else but the how the health tax came out of the blue and how the coal plants are still open.

Both sides know that negative campaigns work. It ain't gonna be pretty.




Our commentary in the Globe and Mail

September 18, 2007

  1. You (Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa home of Canada's corrupt family court judges, Canada) wrote: If John Torry really used his brain, or looked between his legs, he might have come up with another real live issue which is the fact that Canada does not have enough babies being born. But, the question is, Does John Torry have the cojones to face the reality that Canada has a negative population growth because Canada does NOT have a mandatory presumption of equal parenting after divorce or separation. Fathers in Canadian family courts are treated as second class humans, its male gender apartheid and you can feel the hatred oozing out of the courtroom walls. Lawyers fabricate evidence personally, judges engage in the process of justification simply to give custody to a woman who may be a drug addicted mentally ill violent prostitute. It simply does not matter how good a dad you are when you go into family court, because you are male odds are you are going to be on the receiving end of Canada's unofficial policy of male gender apartheid. Its got to end. The only way is to legislate a mandatory presumption of equal parenting after divorce. Equal means equal time, there is no reason generally why a child should not have the benefit of a mother and a father. So, John Torry, are you going to address the real problem? Are you going to express your support and propose legislation that will make a legal presumption of Equal Parenting after separation or divorce? www.OttawaMensCentre.com 613-797-3237