The provincial Progressive Conservatives under Leader John Tory and Liberals under Premier Dalton McGuinty had their "whatever" seasonal parties in the past week, the period leading up to Christmas, for the media.
Each party leader had several members or ministers with them. That Toronto now has a majority of those not born in this country was pointed out several times and the colour barriers were dismissed vigorously. This was particularly true with the Liberals — their event was held in the Queen's Park dining room (big) while the PCs had theirs in the leaders suite of offices (not so big) and the barriers had won.
But they had won only at the receptions and not in the legislative chambers, where "white men in suits" had voted themselves a twenty five percent increase in pay. And when the people in the dining room asked for more representation in the legislative chamber, that didn't include women. They were quite willing to be "not white, but men in suits nonetheless". Our liberation has a way to go further yet.
This week Nik Nanos, president of SES Research, presented the SES Ontario Omnibus Survey, which as a report card of the Ontario political parties and their leaders was a bit of a slap. People of Ontario are split over the direction the government is taking us: 38% in the right direction and 39% in the wrong direction.
All party leaders follow their parties in popularity. McGuinty (31%) follows the Liberals (42%), Tory (24%) follows the PCs (35%), NDP Leader Howard Hampton (13%) follows the NDP (16%) and Green Party Leader Frank De Jong (3%) follows the Green Party (7%). "I'll have to work harder," said McGuinty.
SES feels that the Liberals have rebounded from their post "fibbing" slump and are now climbing back to the position they occupied when they won.
Both parties are setting aim at utilizing the educated people with degrees and experience in their fields. "This week we've opened up the Global Experience Ontario Access Centre in Ryerson University to further aid our newcomers to succeed. We finally received Federal money. It is finally flowing into Ontario, to help all our newcomers. So we are really on a positive roll," said (Provincial) Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Mike Colle.
While the Liberals are talking "now", Tory has prepared a presentation paper on Ontario's Skilled Immigrants. He suggests "Helping newcomers prepare before they arrive". A new online assessment, education and testing initiative to help potential newcomers address the accreditation process in their country of origin before they arrive in Ontario. This way they may continue in their profession while they are preparing for a newer existence.
Global Experience Ontario Access is working in concert with the Ontario Ministry of Health to cut through the red tape, the specific trade associations just as there is a severe need for health care professionals.
The festivities were interesting, brought together old friends, made new ones, the Rolodex just keeps expanding. Merry Christmas and whatever else to all.
Two political ';whatever'; parties