Saturday October 20, 2001

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday October 20, 2001

The Softening of the Right Wingers

Ontario Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, a potential front-running candidate to succeed Premier Mike Harris, appeared to distance himself today from his controversial tax credit for private schools.

Flaherty has championed the measure since his surprise announcement of the credit in his budget in May.

But on Thursday, he suggested it wasn’t his idea.

Flaherty, who is also deputy premier, suggested that criticism of the credit, which has been widely panned by both supporters of public education and some supporters of independent schools, shouldn’t be directed at him.

“I emphasize to you, it’s a matter of government policy, not a particular policy of a particular ministry, just as fiscal policy for the province of Ontario is not the policy of the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

However, there have been reports that Flaherty’s budget announcement, a reversal of policy for the Tory government, caught his potential leadership rival, Education Minister Janet Ecker, totally by surprise. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)