Wednesday, October 5, 2011

McGuinty - The Best Choice for Ontario

Tomorrow is election day in Ontario. It's been a pretty boring election campaign, but that shouldn't lead anyone to believe that this isn't an important election. Ontario is at a crossroads. Will we mirror the federal election and reward a Conservative for running a hateful campaign, full of fear mongering and lies, or will we follow in the steps of our fellow provinces and elect a progressive party to counterbalance the Conservative ideology that is running rampant in Ottawa?

I'm no Liberal - let me make that clear. I'm a card-carrying member of the Green Party, and as much as it pains me to admit it, voting for the party that I love and believe in whole-heartedly just doesn't make sense in an election as close as this one is expected to be. So I am throwing my support behind the party in my riding that has the best chance of beating the Conservative candidate.

Ontario cannot afford a Conservative government. No, I'm not talking about taxes. I'm talking about something more important than that - our entire way of life. I don't want our health care system to be run by a party that fired 6000 nurses and closed 28 hospitals the last time they were in power. I don't want our education system to be run by a man who believes kids should be learning their ABCs and how to tie their shoes in the first grade - children should know their ABCs before the first grade, and it's up to parents, not teachers, to teach children how to tie their shoes. I don't want our economy to be run by a man that promises to tear up a contract that commits a foreign company to investing $7 billion in Ontario in exchange for $4 million a year. I don't want the future of public transit to be in the hands of a party that believes creating more roads is the answer to traffic congestion. And I most definitely don't want our renewable energy sector dismantled by a party that still refuses to acknowledge climate change as a real issue.

I'm not putting McGuinty or his party on a pedestal. They've made mistakes, and I'm sure they will make more. Running a province the size of Ontario is anything but easy, but the Liberals have done a good job these past 8 years, especially considering that they got us through the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Believe it or not, Ontario has bounced back from the recession more successfully than the rest of Canada. We've recouped each job lost during the recession, and so far this year Ontario created more full-time jobs than the rest of the country combined. Forbes named Canada the best country in the world to do business in, and credited the Ontario Liberals for the country's leap from 4th place to 1st in their ratings. Note the picture of solar panel production accompanying this article. After California, we're the second most popular region for foreign investment in North America. Imagine how that reputation would be damaged if Hudak was given the opportunity to tear up the $7 billion Samsung contract.

McGuinty - the "Education Premier"
Every nurse fired by Mike Harris (with the support of Hudak and his wife) has been reclaimed. The Liberals have actually hired 11 500 nurses, more than making up for the 6000 that were fired during the Harris/Eve years. Ontario has 18 more hospitals, and 1.3 million more Ontarians have a family doctor today than 8 years ago. We have the shortest hospital wait times in the country.

The Liberal Party has transformed Ontario's public education system into one that is the envy of the world. We now have 400 more schools (with another 150 on the way), 12 000 more teachers, 11 000 more support staff, and smaller class sizes. More students are graduating from high school - over 80% in 2009-2010, up from 60% in 2002-2003, the year before the Liberals took office. EQAO test scores have improved - 15% more third and sixth grade students now perform at or above the provincial standard in reading, writing, and mathematics than did in 2002-2003. The introduction of full-day kindergarten is especially beneficial to children with two working parents, as they no longer have to be shuffled between school and daycare. The Liberals have also given school boards more power to make their own decisions, allowing them to cater their services to local needs and address the issues that are most important to their students.

Internationally, Ontario is considered a leader in business, health care, and education. While North America is lagging behind most of the developed world in regards to the development of renewable energy, Ontario is currently leading the way in North America. A vote for the Conservatives is a vote for a step backward. To be competitive in a global market, we need to be investing in renewable energy now. We can't wait until every other developed country in the world is charging carbon tariffs to revamp our system - we won't be able to afford it on top of the tariffs we'll be paying for the dirty energy our businesses use.

The Liberal Party of Ontario has a vision for the future. The Conservative Party of Ontario doesn't. Whether you agree with me or not, I implore you to vote tomorrow. After all, a true democracy requires democratic citizens.

1 comment:

David said...

Do you feel sorry now?