Following Premier Dalton McGuinty, who while speaking to the ethnic media last month outlined more of what he had done and what former Premier Mike Harris had not done, Leader of the Provincial Opposition and of the Progressive Conservative Party, John Tory spoke to us this week about his election platform, which he had just revealed on the previous weekend at the policy convention.
The election will take place on October 10. Mr. Tory repeated the platform to the ethnic press and also filled in some of the blanks. He also addressed points that Mr. McGuinty had been proud of.
Case in point was the healthcare system. Mr. McGuinty was very proud of what they had done in healthcare. Mr. Tory however pointed out that wait times are still very long and what they have done is hid the waiting times into the emergency wards where some patients are made to wait several days before surgery. The reason, said Mr. Tory, was that the wards were filled with patients who should be in long-term facilities, but space was not available.
While Mr. McGuinty was proud of the 3.5 billion dollars they had sunk into the healthcare system much of it has been devoted to construction and added bureaucracy.
Mr. Tory stressed the crime issue, something he had dealt with since he ran for mayor of Toronto. He talked about enforcing the rules, which he says are there, but not used properly by the judges.
Days later Mr. McGuinty appointed the Honourable Roy McMurtry, a former provincial Progressive Conservative Minister and the Honourable Alvin Curling, a former provincial Liberal Minister to form a committee to study the sources of increased crime in this province. The premier, who is unable to pick up a phone and call the Commissioner of the OPP and the Attorney General to find out the answer, seems to have problems with the issue. I wonder if the answer will be discovered after October 10, the day of the provincial election
A constant issue in Mr. Tory's speech was one of honesty and fairness, probably subtly pointing out Mr. McGuinty's fifty-some-odd broken promises. Mr. Tory stressed the need of honesty in the corporate world when he worked as President of Rogers Media.
Mr. McGuinty has also dealt with fairness in his government. He has appointed the Honourable Jean Augustine (who gave up her federal seat of Etobicoke-Lakeshore to Michael Ignatieff) as Fairness Commissioner of Ontario, so that those who don't understand fairness can be educated.
Mr. Tory proposed helping farmers, who seem to be in some difficulty in this province.
Among Mr. Tory’s proposals for education reform is intent to reduce the workload of the student body. Will that keep us competitive with the rest of the world or not - and what is the point?
Mr. Tory wants to fund all schools, no matter what religion, "Why should schools from one religion be funded and others not." Mr. Tory adds, "this way we can have control over their core curriculum, make sure the students are learning what they need to know."
While there are 1.5 million students in the general system, there are 650,000 students in the Catholic system and only 5,300 students in the faith based, non-funded system. The parents of the last group are paying $10,000 tuition per year.
"While Mr. McGuinty has been proud of Ontario's spending (on certain ministries) we will be proud of our savings," said Mr. Tory, adding,” the Liberals have spent $22.5 billion dollars more than was spent before." The $5.5 billion that Mr. McGuinty blames for his 50 or so broken promises seem to pale by comparison.
There seemed to be no great ideological differences on the main issues between Tory and McGuinty except, well, honesty.
John Tory outlines his election platform (4)