Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Frost is in the Air

The first cool evenings are telling us that summertime is all done. If it was down south the catfish would be stoppin' the jumping and the cotton would be high ( all 2.5 feet of it). But this is Ontario and the pot is the only thing that's high right now, as summer corn season's over, and the only things jumping are the 'pollyticians' trying to get themselves another 4 year sinecure on-the-way-to-a-pension.

The Ontario election is in full swing and the BIG issue, to distract us from the important stuff, is education. Not the soaring cost of college or university, mind you, but the minds and hearts of our 'little ones'. This time it's about extending the school system to accommodate the polyglot panalopy of multicultures that is Ontario. Not the watered-down, politically correct no-child-is-an-asshole and we are all together Public School System (although that is the currently touted 'option'), but the notion of letting parents, and the other ratepayers who support their views, pay to educate their kids in the Ontario curriculum plus the other things the 'politically correct' would like them to do on Saturdays. The PC candidate , whom I personally think rates up there with the non-juvenile assholes, wants to extend funding to what are now private schools. I'm OK with that, but that's only part of his agenda, and the rest of it spooks me.

What he has succeeded in doing, is whetting the appetites of those who think a one-size (theirs) fits-all solution is the best one. From the beginning, the protestant ascendancy in Ontario was forced to make allowances for Catholics - because the reverse was required in Quebec. They did it grudgingly. So grudgingly in fact, that full and equitable funding to Catholic schools took more than a century to arrive, and even then a significant amount of taxes (corporate taxes) were reserved, in the main, to the public system. The recent takeover of school funding taxation by the provincial government, as opposed to school boards, has leveled the playing field even more.

There are 4 'public' school systems in Ontario at present - English and French Catholic and Public Systems. These are funded from Government revenues - taxes. Taxes are paid by 'Francophone' and 'Anglophone' (a new Ontario wrinkle) Catholic , or other, taxpayers. Catholics may designate the 'education' portion of realty taxes to Catholic school support, or otherwise, ditto for French- speaking Catholics. Everybody else, by law, has to support the 'public systems. Non-Catholics can't support the Catholic systems. The proposed change would allow taxpayers to allocate their taxes to support the schools of their choice.

That's not how others see it. They cry out that "public money" will be taken from Peter to pay Paul - forgetting where that 'public' money comes from. They say that having kids learning other than the humanist values-based system of majority-rules morality will cause the fracture of society. That hasn't happened, even given more than a century of schoolyard banter and shenanigans, because WE didn't want it to happen. They seem to think that the 'public schools' somehow embody what Ontario is all about. They're good, but they're not all they're cracked up to be. There are some 'modern' values they teach and espouse that fly in the face of all that some people hold sacred. Put on a cost-effectiveness scale, it might be better to, scrap the public and go with one Catholic system as they've been raised to 'do more with less'. They teach the same curriculum, plus religion and they manage to accommodate cultural sensitivity and awareness - it is a universal Church, you know?

Meanwhile other, more important issues slide by the wayside. Healthcare in Ontario sucks. Even given the massive infusion of a per capita health tax waiting times are intolerable and medical 'service' is declining. The root problems have not been solved by giving doctors a raise.

Right now gasoline sells for 2005 prices, even given the fact that world oil hit $100 per barrel. The price of gas, I believe, is being held down so that it's not an election issue. After the election watch it soar, and with it the revenues of the newly-elected government.

The economy is booming. But the dollar hit par with the US to-day and other than water, Ontario has little to sell other than its manufactures. A readjustment is overdue, and it could be just around the corner. No Ontario government has been able to stop big business from cutting losses by cutting Ontario jobs - even given millions in public incentives, loans and investment.

The liberals, crying the poor mouth when elected, have found themselves on the nice end of the checkbook. Pay down the deficit? Eliminate some of the Hydro debt? Reduce the Health tax? Hell no! Build some community resources for immigrant groups - that's the ticket. A casino for the Canadians, but if you've just stepped into Canada from wherever, the Trillium fund will help you build a retirement home for your aged Granny. That Temple you want to put up can get a couple of million if there's a 'community centre'attached . Horse pellets! It's called pandering.

There was a minor scandal about this, now forgotten, where, for instance, a lawn bowling club asked for $40 thousand and were given a million and a half by a government cultural agency with more money to give away than horse sense. They weren't asked to return the money - just spend it on something worthwhile. Nuts!

So it looks like I'm not voting, or if I do, I'll be voting the local rep, or writing in a name. There is no party that clearly wants what I want. We'd need a new one - ' the Sensible Party' or the thoroughly Stupid one.