A cartoon I drew in the summer leading up to the 2007 election campaign.
Progressive Conservative leader John Tory was the first party leader to pay a visit to the Hamilton Spectator during the current election campaign now going on in the province. I’ve been looking forward to hearing what he had to tell us as it was his first meeting. Both Dalton McGuinty and Howie Hampton have each made several visits in the course of the last year.
Here’s a video summary of what Mr. Tory had to say to us.
Did you get all that? That Mr. Tory’s is quite the yakker, and it’s a wonder he has the ability to take in any air between all the sentences. I took the last available seat at the table in the little board room to hear what he had to say. It turned out to be almost directly across the table from where he was seated. Usually when I attend these things I like to situate myself a little ways from the q & a between the guest/handlers and the assembled journalists. But I was kinda stuck in a spot reminiscent of my school days when pencil sketching was impossible and complete attention towards the lecturer, or feigned attention, (as was the case through most of my Math classes) was the order of the session. John Tory came across as a know-it-all high school teacher, with the appearance of a well coiffed game show host, and the somewhat pompous airs of an Emperor who has yet to acquire a Kingdom to rule over.
On the other hand, this is Mr. Tory’s first election as PC leader and I’m getting the sense that while voters are slowly being introduced to his vision and style of leadership he’s also learning the ropes as he goes. One thing quite apparent is that a lot of what he says makes a lot of sense. The faith-based school funding issue is one of them. The initial reaction is to call his idea crazy. However, for the mere fact that we already fund Roman Catholic schools, for historical reasons which are probably irreversible, I’m convinced that religious schools probably should be publicly funded for fairness purposes. If it standardizes benchmarks across all schools, including faith based institutions then it can only serve to benefit Ontario’s entire educational system.
I just don’t know why the Tories have made this the big issue of the campaign. Unless, it’s part of a larger strategy by the PC’s to somehow use their faith-based school funding proposal to show how they’re not the old party of the Harris era. How will the PC’s stance affect the traditional mixed faith base of the Liberal Party? Will the PC’s rather strange embracing of faith-based funding convince voters that they’re at the very least decisive and upfront as a contrast to the flip flopping promise breaking Liberals? Tory could very well give McGuinty a good whacking in next week’s televised debate.
It’ll take a lot more yakking by John Tory to beat the Liberals this election round, I suspect.