Editorials - March 31, 2022
The divide deepens
Another urban-rural divide is playing out, this time in the Thames Valley District School Board. An ad hoc committee of the board, the Rural Education Task Force, formed in June of 2019 to consult with stakeholders and develop recommendations for a rural education strategy prepared a draft report and presented it to the board on March 22, which turned out to be the same meeting at which the board voted to dissolve the committee. The board administration has expressed concerns that the report is flawed and overstepping, while the committee members claim that the staff is trying to “bury the report” as it advocates for an improved funding formula and questions the necessity of closing rural schools.
What is clear is that with the centralization of school boards, the decisions are made in urban centres, and even though school boards and administrators acknowledge the need for a rural strategy, there seems to be a reluctance to admit that the rural strategy might not be the same as the urban strategy, and may be challenging to implement.
Surely, with improvements in technology and infrastructure, we should be able to deliver a comprehensive education to 300 students in a small village just as we can to 500 to 1,000 in an urban school. And with remote work allowing families to leave the cities and work from small-town Ontario, those children should be able to skip the bus trip. – DS
The “supply and confidence” agreement between the federal Liberal and New Democratic Parties is sure to serve as a political Rorschach test. What you see tells you more about your views than what the deal is likely to accomplish or, based on your views, not accomplish.
Conservatives like Candice Bergen (“backdoor socialism”) and Pierre Poilievre (an “attack on our freedom”) and Patrick Brown (a “subversion of our democracy”) will see a shady deal with the devil from which the country will never recover, while those on the left will maybe look forward to the possibility of tangible decisions being made, rather than languishing in minority government purgatory.
What it actually means for the country remains to be seen and, with it in place until 2025, there should be plenty of time to build a case one way or the other. One thing is for sure, it shows that NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is putting the potential for a better life for Canadians ahead of one for his political career. Whether you agree with Singh’s politics or not, there are few political ships foundering more drastically than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s, and forming an alliance with Trudeau holds little potential in regards to résumé building for Singh.
“I want to go into it with the spirit of hopeful optimism, but I will remain critical and we’re going to remain an opposition party,” Singh has said. “We are going to remain forceful in getting help to people and making sure that this agreement is followed through.” Those on the left can hope this is true, while those on the right would say that Singh and his party have never served as “critical” or “forceful” with Trudeau.
The future of this deal is unwritten, but, with the divided nature of the country, it’s sure to polarize, regardless of its success. – SL
While everyone is entitled to change their mind (and moreover, required to do so for growth as an individual), it’s always hard to tell if a politician is changing their mind for the better when they make decisions in an election year. While it could be that a politician has had an awakening and decided they need to do better or think more environmentally, it’s equally likely a politician may only be appeasing the masses to try and make sure they have a job after the votes are tallied.
That’s why it’s difficult to tell if Ontario Premier Doug Ford has finally realized that electric and hybrid vehicles are the future we need, or if he’s just trying to entice an environmentally-minded voter (or several thousand) from the more left-leaning parties.
Ford has a tumultuous history with green initiatives, starting in 2018, not long after he had been elected. The month after he assumed office in 2018, he canceled the rebate program for electric vehicles (and hydrogen-powered vehicles). Six months later, he had electric vehicle chargers removed from transit lots. Ten months after that, he spent $231 million to cancel green energy projects.
Three years later, however, Ford has turned over a new leaf, pun intended, and decided the provincial government needs to invest in automobile manufacturing - specifically hybrid and electric cars.
Thanks to rising prices, anyone with two brain cells to rub together now recognizes that, even if global warming is the most well-executed hoax on the planet (it’s not), traditional combustion automobiles aren’t the future. However, it remains to be seen if Ford’s realized that alongside the rest of the cash-strapped Ontarians or if he’s just playing up that sentiment to score voters. It’s just hard to trust anything a politician says or does that’s outside their established character when, in a few days or weeks, he will be reminding us that it’s time to vote. – JDS