Friday, September 7, 2007

Shocked, Simply Shocked

There has been much, and undoubtedly will be much more, commentary on John Tory's moment of creationism self-immolation. What I find more amusing is David Asper's shocked reaction to the media and liberal reaction to all of this. David Asper suggests that it is somehow odious that the Ontario Liberal Party would make the campaign 'all about' the reigious schools issue and now John Tory's spectacular creationism gaffe.

Let's see, the Tory Tories idenitfied what they thought was a wedge issue between the Ontario Liberals and a couple of their power bases -- immigrant communities and the establishment Jewish community in Toronto. They designed a platform plank -- which they presented and touted -- around the funding of non-Catholic religous schools (something which the Tories could have done at any time during the Bill Davis or Mike Harris eras) for the express purpose of expanding the gap. Suddenly the plank swings around and smacks John Tory in the face -- let's see what should the Liberals do?

Unless they are somehow planning to get out of the election business and take up basketweaving they are going to exploit that issue and make it what the election is all about. Why wouldn't they? They did not pick the fight -- but it seems they plan to win it.

What mystifies me though is this: surely any person who reads newspapers and is moderately informed about current events could have expected the question sometime, somewhere. The answer should have been sharpened and honed and rehearsed until it was reflexive. Instead it seems like the question had never been considered before and the answer fully improvised. It is this that should raise real questions about the Tory Tories' capacity to develop policy and govern.

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1 comment:

Die said...

Haha. Yes, this gave me a good laugh too, on a day that I needed a laugh. A bit of a stunning gaffe from John Tory who is a seasoned politician (and a backroom boy and frankly, that's where people sit around imagining worst case scenarios and plotting how to avoid them).

Personally, I think many people are mixed up about what religious education is all about. The people who are the most mixed up are those who did not attend religious schools themselves or have never been involved in organized religion. I think these folks imagaine that the school day in religious schools is pretty much the same, except there are religion classes about that particular religion. Ummm. It's not. Thankfully, I am more than happy to dissuade people from this view with a long list of horror stories from my Catholic school days.

This week I noticed there has also been discussion about the tremendous potential for students from various religious schools to play sports on teams which would compete as part of one public school board. I'm not sure people realize this, but at any of the Orthodox Jewish day schools on Bathurst in Toronto, you can see the boys outside playing sports wearing tallis, long-sleeved white shirts and black pants. The only concession made is that they are wearing running shoes. It would seem peculiar to mix players dressed in this traditional garb in with players from secular public schools wearing shorts and t-shirts.

This very week there has also been stories every day in the Globe and Mail about Grenville Christian College in Brockville and the abuse that was going on there. This is exactly the sort of school which would be publicly funded under the model John Tory is proposing.