Could John Tory have picked a better wedge issue on which to fight the Ontario election? Yes. Could he have chosen a better proposal on educational reform, like a charter school program? Certainly. Is John Tory’s platform conservative? Not at all. But Christina Blizzard of the Toronto Sun has me convinced: the religious school funding issue will be, in the end, a political winner for Tory, and possibly a fatal blow to Dalton McGuinty’s re-election prospects.
Blizzard’s column today exposes the astounding hypicricy, illogic, and foolish politics of McGuinty’s battle against the Tory proposal. After eviscerating McGuinty for using Catholic school children as election campaign props yesterday morning, and pointing out once again that McGuinty was raised in Catholic schools, sends his kids to Catholic schools, and has a wife who teaches in a Catholic school, she makes this prescient political observation:
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.
In the final analysis, Ontario voters will be forced to choose Tory’s least-bad option: let Catholic schools keep their funding, but offer equal support to other faiths. McGuinty’s ludicrous support for the status quo is, without a doubt, a worse option to most reasonable voters.