Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Ontario Election

A funny thing happened at our annual block party on Sunday. We got ambushed by a candidate in the provincial election. It raises the question that underlies much of what we hear on the news all the time: Just what is fair in politics? Today both Tim Hudak and Kathleen Wynne were forced to apologize for  recent actions of their parties. Federally, there has been a lot of chatter lately about the mailings that MPs regularly send out.Tonight on the National there's going to be an item about a behind the scenes person who "helped" all kinds of politicians rise to power. Who knows what really goes on behind political doors?

Anyhow, what happened at our place on Sunday does not involve anything remotely illegal. Rather, it was just a questionable move. Every year we host our neighbours at a very informal gathering. All we do is set the date and provide a place to gather. It's our neighbours who bring the food to share. The weather was picture perfect on Sunday and we had over 50 people on the laneway, chatting and eating when a friend of ours came up to me and said, "What do you think? Isn't that tacky? Imagine the nerve!"

I had no idea that the NDP candidate for our riding was working her way through our neighbours, introducing herself. She also had a veteran NDP person with her and at one point he advanced to the barbecue area and asked for a burger. Someone opened the bbq lid and as it happened, it was empty at that point. Tough luck!

Everyone was very polite but I think we all felt the same way. This party was our effort to build community on the give all of us, especially the new young families, a chance to meet each other, so that from now on,  we'll perhaps remember names and have more than "hi" to say to each other. We've never had a politician attend. Usually, the highlight at our block party is the "eat the donut off the string" event.

This was not an open public gathering at a neighbourhood park or town hall. It was a private party. I have nothing against the NDP. I have voted for them many times. However, I think she crossed the line by crashing our party. If I had voted for her in the advance poll I would have been regretting that.

However it was my current MPP, Liberal Yasir Naqvi, who got my vote. Yes, I know all about the gas plant scandals but I am not holding Naqvi or Kathleen Wynne responsible for that. This is a corny thing to say but, on the surface at least, I like both of them. They seem to be good, decent people. That sounds very naive.

I question Horvath's timing in suddenly pulling the plug on the government after they put forth a budget with many NDP features. And Hudak? Please protect us from that man. His plan to cut so many government positions scares me. I admit that I am no expert in economics but I simply do not understand how cutting 100 000 government jobs will create one million jobs.  There have been many pieces written on this but basically it's education that worries me the most. The idea of increasing class sizes and eliminating most of our educational assistants in classrooms is ridiculous and almost unbelievable. Children need more, not less, of adults' time and care. This morning I heard an interview with the parent of a murderer. He spoke of his child's rough time in school. These young, vulnerable children need care, attention, and supervision, besides academic instruction.  One teacher on their own simply cannot attend to the multiple needs of today's classrooms.

Years ago we chose to send two of our kids to nursery schools when they were four. The ratio there was eight to one. Today, nursery schools are still governed by the Day Nurseries Act, which stipulates that four year olds must be in an 8:1  setting. However, these same 4 year olds, if in a school, under the Education Act, could be in a classroom with over 30 students. Many of today's full time kindergarten classes have about that many kids, with a teacher and an Early Childhood Educator (ECE). At a nearby school, in a combined JK/SK class there are 31 kids. How can one adult keep up with 15 or 16 four and five year olds? And Hudak wants to eliminate most of the non teaching staff in our schools?!

It is so obvious that it seems silly to say, but really, our future society hinges on the start that we give to all our children. Hopefully Ontario voters will remember that.

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