May 30, 2012

Ontario's Political Scene & Separation Of Church & State

With a $15 billion deficit, Ontario's financial state is in a mess, and the Ontario Liberal government is squarely to blame as they have been in power for the past 9 years. The biggest problem is the growth in the public sector. Unions and steady raises has created a ridiculous situation where 70,000 Ontario public sector employees make over $100,000 a year, and even more unfathomable is the fact that on average a public sector employee makes 27% more money than a private sector worker doing the same job.

Teachers, for example, are overpaid, and over compensated with oodles of sick days and a great pension plan. Yeah, teachers are important, but I strongly believe that public sector workers should only get paid what they could make on a good day in the private sector.

This situation has all to do with economic cycles. In bad cycles, private sector employees don't see steady wage increases, but the Ontario government kept giving and giving and giving no matter what was happening in the real world.

The Liberal Party's conceitedness and corruptness has also given the Ontario taxpayer fits, as we have to pay for their mistakes like ORNGE and Ehealth. As a minority government right now, they are trying to push through a budget that was the product of zero public consultation.

There were recommendations to get out the hole made in the Drummond Report which came out a couple of months ago, but the Liberals have cherry picked it to death. Bottom line, the day after the budget was outlined, Ontario's credit rating tanked.

One of the recommendations was to eliminate full day kindergarten, a move which would save the province $1.5 billion over the next few years. But noooo. The Dalton McGuinty run Liberals would not go there.

The absurdity of stating that this budget was full of tough decisions while keeping full day kindergarten is a reason why this government has to go. The argument for full day kindergarten is that kids who participate in it are better integrated in grade 1, 2, and even 3. So what? If you put a kid in school as a 3 year old, they would be even better prepared for grade 1, etc. It doesn't mean that a province in debt should pay for the luxury.

Everyone I know, including my nephews and nieces, are all products of half day kindergarten. They all function very well in society. All I can remember from half day kindergarten was tasting paste and getting a mat to have a daily nap on. It is nothing but glorified day care.

The Liberal Party has a history of overspending and making irresponsible dirty deals, so why are they in power?

Main reason is that they are actually better for the economy than the NDP would be, as that party is completely in bed with the Unions and their only way to straighten out Ontario's finances would be to overtax the rich and private sector businesses. Way too much socialism, even for Canada. And their way of doing things would only make the economy worse.

That leaves the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. They are all for privatizing much of the public sector, thus causing a smaller government. But their biggest problem is that they can't seem to get out of their own way when it comes to pandering to the religious base in Ontario. This was completely evident when then PC leader John Tory announced he would fund religious schools if elected. He drove off most independents (who are socially liberal, yet pro business like myself). I had no choice but to vote Liberal for the first time in my life that year.

So now, with Liberals at an all time low in popularity, the issue of anti-bullying has come up in Ontario. Spurred on by the media reports of gay kids committing suicide, the Liberal government wants to allow anti-homophobic groups to be created in any school and if desired by the students in it, can also use the word gay in their group title. Sounds like a no brainer. The NDP support it too. But the Conservatives are making it an issue. What is it going to get them to stay away from social issues if their input is based on a bigoted bible? They need to shut up. They aren't going to lose the conservative vote, just as Romney will not lose the conservative vote in the USA no matter how much he respects separation of church and state.

But Ontario is still not all separation of church and state. Due to a deal made when Ontario was initially made a province, Catholic schools get to be publicly funded. It is now 2012, and it would definitely make financial sense to end this relationship, but no leader has the guts to do it.

The Catholic school board though is whining about the anti-bullying law. McGuinty has got one thing right when he told the Catholic board to basically go to hell: “I’m accountable to all faiths, I’m accountable to people of no faith. I’m accountable to all parents.”

And yes, if they don't comply, it is time to pull the plug on their funding. Though the government is not saying there is a threat of any kind going on. I think the Catholics know they could put their status in jeopardy so it is all bark for them. The result will be kind of funny though: A gay alliance group in a Catholic school...I can't wait.

The other thing that irks me about Ontario is that The Lord's Prayer still starts off the Ontario Legislature each morning. WTF is that? It isn't right, but it just shows that we are still a province of wimps when it comes to full separation of church and state.