Coming into this provincial election I was pretty neutral in terms of my party allegiance.
The Liberals have put forward some pretty useful initiatives this past term, most impressive of which is the Places to Grow legislation which shows that they at least have a reasonable understanding of the importance and priority of checking urban sprawl. Less impressive is their back tracking on the dismantling of coal fired plants and their tax pledge reversal.
The platform for the NDP shows some reasonable commitment to cities (50% funding for the TTC is a good start) and a good starting point for tackling poverty ($10 an hour minimum wage).
I haven't paid much attention to the Greens, however I will, and I have yet to be unimpressed by any of their policy initiatives to date.
That just leaves the Tories. I have not looked much beyond the Faith based schools funding position, put forth by the Conservatives. In fact, I have virtually no idea what comprises the rest of their policies.
The reason for this is that I have resented, from the outset, the hijacking of this provincial campaign by this single, relatively unimportant issue. The NDP have recently observed that many of the most important issues facing our province - poverty, the economy, the environment - have been largely ignored by the media during the campaign.
They're right. But don't blame the media. The media, after all, is just looking for the best story. Where we have debate, conflict and the potential to incite a reaction we have a good story.
The person to blame is John Tory. By jumping out of the gate with a firm commitment to fund all faith based schools he set the tone, and the content, for this campaign.
Everybody knows that the current education system is unfair. Catholics have no more right to funding than any other faith - clearly this is a situation which at some point needs to be dealt with.
But this is not the issue of our time. The issues of our time are poverty - especially child poverty - the environment, with all its inter-related components such as clean energy, integrated transit, waste management and so on, and support for our cities - the engines of our economy.
It's a shame we couldn't find the time to chat about these issues. Alas, thanks to John Tory and the Conservatives, for this election at least, the opportunity has come and gone.
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