What the Globe didn’t print

I guess it was too much to expect that the Globe and Mail would print something that was critical of their recent crazy editorials, and they didn’t, so I’m publishing the letter I sent them yesterday here.

To the Editor,

Re the June 4  editorial, “The Ontario NDP is stuck in a groove” https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-globe-editorial-the-ontario-ndp-is-stuck-in-a-old-groove/, may I respectfully say the groove is mutual – the dismissal of Andrea Horwath’s reason for scrapping the EQAO because it is “a wish-list item of the teachers’ unions” reinforces the stereotype of the greedy union. Unions are made up of their members, and in this case, when teachers want to reduce standardized testing, it is because they know its negative effects on children and learning, and they know that the most successful education systems have minimal testing. It is not because they have anything to gain materially from it. Horwath is refreshing and fairly unique among politicians in that she has consulted with the experts on education, the teachers, through their unions, and is using evidence to promote good policy.

Yours sincerely,  Molly Hurd

Of course, this letter only tackled one tiny aspect of the article, and there is so much more I could have said. The Globe will always defend the business interests of the elite, even to the point, as in today’s editorial, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-globe-editorial-for-ontario-voters-leadership-and-vision-are-not-on/ of encouraging people to vote for a party led by a “populist chancer”  who is incompetent, a drug dealer (in high school) and a liar. “It defies recent experience to believe that a person like that will be moderated by high office. Mr. Ford has furthermore failed to explain how he will pay for his many promised tax cuts. He is no fiscal conservative.” In spite of that, and in spite of actually giving the NDP platform faint praise yesterday, they now conclude that “if you are lucky enough to have a local candidate who embodies integrity and principle, we encourage you to support him or her”…which is tacitly telling people to vote conservative in spite of Doug Ford. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s just like they did in the last federal election when they endorsed the conservatives, but not Harper.

Fortunately, I doubt many young people read the Globe and Mail, which is making itself more irrelevant by the day. And hopefully, those young ones, the ones under 35, will get out and vote in droves tomorrow.

20180605_131209Photo from Barcelona, where they have amazing separated bike lanes everywhere. Here there is a special lane for bikes, and then taxis and motorcycles, with the main traffic in the middle. Can’t wait to get out on a bike tomorrow!

Dear Kathleen Wynne,

Dear Kathleen Wynne,

You have already conceded defeat in the upcoming Ontario election, a startling and unprecedented event that has left many of your Liberal supporters bewildered and scrambling. In my last blogpost on this topic, (https://progressiveeducationnovascotia.com/2018/05/10/ford-nation-again-never/) I expressed my admiration for you for what you accomplished in education in Ontario. However, your legacy, in my eyes, will be toast if you continue to exhort your followers to vote Liberal regardless, just to prevent a Conservative or NDP majority. Your argument is that the Liberals will need enough seats to hold the balance of power in a minority government situation, no matter who wins.

To hold that an NDP or Conservative majority are equally bad prospects is to equate their platforms – and it is ridiculous to compare the NDP’s 97 page, detailed and fully costed platform with Ford’s uncosted, fuzzy list of vague promises. The only way Ford claims to be able to pay for billions of dollars’ worth of promises is by cutting “waste” in government, starting with the kinds of paper they use. By being vague about what kind of “waste” he’ll get rid of, he leaves the door open to cut things like libraries, teachers and nurses…and his past priorities indicate that this is his agenda. All the major media outlets in Ontario have pilloried Ford’s platform, and for you to promote this false equivalence between the two parties is dangerous and immoral.

Kathleen Wynne, get out there and start encouraging your supporters to vote NDP in ridings where the Liberals don’t have a chance. It’s the only way to stop a Ford government, and make no bones about it, Ford is no “progressive” conservative. He’s a Trump admirer, a bombastic populist who will gaily make life much worse for minorities, women and the poor in Ontario. He’ll decimate your progressive sex education curriculum and undo years of successful progressive educational policies that have made Ontario a global high flyer in education. Just this morning, for example, an article about arts education in Britain noted: “By contrast, in high-performing jurisdictions around the world, including Singapore and Ontario, Canada, pupils are required to study arts subjects to age 17 or 18” (https://culturallearningalliance.org.uk/arts-in-englands-schools-the-current-picture/) Why mess with this?

Yet Ford’s promotional video about education is introduced with the words, “Ontario’s kids are getting failing grades.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSNF2Ym6UIc Take a look at the video, narrated by a fake “newscaster”, and hear him in his own words promising to bring education “back to basics” – totally ignorant that Ontario children are already among the best performing students in the world.

A Horwath minority government would be a totally different proposition to work with than a Ford one – let’s face it, you are much more philosophically aligned with the NDP than with the Conservatives. Horwath has promised to build on your successes in education, not rip them apart. We’ve seen in the recent BC election that a small number of seats can hold the balance of power, and wield tremendous influence – but would you seriously consider propping up Doug Ford?

I’ve always been dubious about strategic voting, but unfortunately under this flawed first past the post system we have, it is sometimes necessary. And this is one of those times – the NDP could win the popular vote and still lose the seat count because there are ridings where a Liberal/NDP vote split could result in an extra Conservative seat.

So, Kathleen, wield whatever power you have left wisely and help stop the disaster that a “buck a beer” Ford government would be. Ontario voters deserve better.