From The Globe and Mail.
Religious schools set to give Liberals majority
Funding issue proved 'devastating' to Tory, poll says
October 9, 2007
TORONTO -- Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory's proposal to fund faith-based schools has inflicted enormous damage on his party, leaving it trailing 15 points behind the Liberals on the eve of tomorrow's election, according to a new poll.
Only 27 per cent of voters support the Conservatives, making it all but certain that Dalton McGuinty's Liberals, at 42 per cent, will win a second majority, says the Strategic Counsel survey conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV.
The Liberal lead is not due to a growth in their popularity, but because support for the Conservatives has fallen to near historic lows. The survey says the biggest beneficiaries are the province's second-tier parties - the New Democrats and Greens - that are attracting the "protest vote," mainly outside the Toronto area.
"As Ontarians became more engaged in the election, they clearly turned away from the PCs," said Tim Woolstencroft, managing partner at the Strategic Counsel. "The issue of education and religion has totally exploded and been devastating to the PC campaign."
You can't blame John Tory. He just took a page out of the Liberal play book by pandering to the ethnic vote and it back fired on him. Let's face it, it was religious minorities, largely Muslims, and not Christian faiths that continuously pushed for public subsidization of their private faith based schools. I don't agree with public funding for the Catholic school system but before Muslims started to demand extension of public dollars to their private faith based schools it wasn't much of an issue in Ontario. Christians and other faiths just jumped onto the momentum the Muslims started. And now, not only are private faith based schools not going to get what this time around but now the people of Ontario are talking about absolving the Catholic school system altogether.
The debate on publicly funding faith based schools in Ontario provided Canadians a rare opportunity to voice their opinion on one aspect of a multicultural society and the rejection was almost unanimous. Some may think it was solely about religion and the maintenance of a secular society but the more astute observer would see that Ontarians were rejecting the multicultural societal model. This is quite remarkable considering that Ontarians, mostly southern Ontarians, are the Canadians most indoctrinated by the Canadian government's multicultural program.
I'm glad Ontarians rejected publicly funding faith based schools. There may be hope for Canada yet.