John Tory, Leader of the Opposition, leader of the Progressive Conservatives (PC) went into the Ontario election campaign ahead of Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty in personal popularity and tied party-wise — and came out twelve percentage points behind.
He lost to a scandal ridden party which had lied on many of its election promises and increased taxes (which he had signed an oath not to do) by calling it a health tax, which amounted a minimum of three hundred ($300) dollars a month from every worker. So why did Tory, a straight shooter, former business man, with a track record you can take to the bank, lose?
Private/Religious School Funding, that’s why. When Tory was Premier Bill Davis' (PC) executive assistant in the 1980's, Davis almost wiped out the PC party by extending the final two years of Catholic school funding. It’s likely both Tory and Davis received so much abuse that both (Davis was on Tory's election team) that they thought it was only fair to include the remaining 53,000 students into the funding formula.
McGuinty jumped on the issue and didn't let go of it for the rest of the campaign. He very earnestly promoted public education even though he was a Catholic school graduate and his wife teaches in one. McGuinty also argued that the $500 million cost would come out of public school funding, leaving out that those students' parents still pay school tax and if they were to step out and join public schools tomorrow they still cost that much. And the province joined in on the mantra and Tory started a free fall. First McGuinty looked like he was going to loose in a minority, then he looked like he was going to win a minority and then he looked like he was going to win a majority.
There was one of those silences that defied logic. Then National Post columnist Andrew Coyne made mention of a possibility in his post-election analysis. The reason could have been that the people of Ontario did not want to support Islamic schools that would receive their teachers from Wahabi (radical) institutes in Saudi Arabia. But since Coyne was the only one who mentioned it there may be more to the story
From the jaws of victory comes defeat