Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory scrambled today to downplay his policy of funding religious schools and the controversies surrounding it.
“It represents a quarter of a page in a 52-page document,” he said defensively as he neared the end of his first week of campaigning for the Oct. 10 provincial election.
Tory was still smarting from telling reporters yesterday that Christian schools would still be able to teach creationism even if they got funding, which feeds into fears these schools will still teach whatever they want, despite Tory’s assurance they will have to teach the provincial curriculum in order to get the funding.
Creationism is controversial in that it is the view that all things on earth were created directly by God, as described in the Book of Genesis.
Tory, who said today he believes in evolution, issued a clarification yesterday stating that his proposal would allow creationism to be discussed only as part of religious studies, as is now the case in Ontario’s publicly-funded Catholic schools, and not in science class.
Tory said today he understands that funding religious schools with public money is controversial and that he will have to chose his words more carefully.
He added that while the media seems to be obsessed with his faith-based school funding proposal, most people, according to him, are concerned about taxes, community safety and other things.
“I know some people raised the schools issues … but I will tell you that many issues are being raised in many different contexts by voters and that a big part of what people are talking about is Mr. McGuinty’s broken promises, his disrespect for taxpayers and the struggles they are having and issues like community safety.”
Tory attempted to change the channel today with an attack on the governing Liberals’ “reckless spending.”
“I am here today discussing scandalous waste in government and scandalous lack of accountability for taxpayers’ money,” he said.
The Conservative leader attacked Premier Dalton McGuinty’s “irresponsible” spending and secret slush fund, saying it has robbed the province of money for badly needed programs such as health and education.
“At a time when so many urgent public needs go without, a time when many taxpayers can barely afford to keep up with the cost of living, it is appalling that Dalton McGuinty always seems to have a few million extras dollars lying around to hand out to his friends,” he told reporters today.
The Liberals were slammed by opposition parties and Ontario's auditor general for handing out $32 million to over 100 multicultural groups -- many with Liberal ties -- with no formal application process or formal controls over the last two years.
Tory has accused the Liberals of $2.7 billion in “undocumented year-end spending."
Sorry was that a 5 billion dollar deficit these jokers left the public after the last election? Now he wants to get everyone to pay for alsorts of kooky mumbo jumbo schools to teach kids what they should be taught in their own homes and by already tax exempt places of worship?