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.

 

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mollyhurd

Molly Hurd’s perspectives on education have been developed out of her wide variety of teaching experiences in northern Quebec, rural Nova Scotia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Britain. She was also a teacher and head teacher at Halifax Independent School for twenty years. She believes passionately that keeping children’s natural love of learning alive throughout their school years is one of the very best things a school can do for its students. She is the author of “Best School in the World: How students, teachers and parents have created a model that can transform Canada’s public schools” published by Formac Publishing in 2017.

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