Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tim Peterson's lack of leadership on faith-based schools

While Ottawa Centre Progressive Conservative candidate Trina Morissette is far from my favourite person (both politically, and personally, the first time I met her at a Carleton Campus Conservative meeting I was attending because several of my friends are involved she lectured my ear off for about 5 minutes after she found out I was a Liberal) at least she has taken a stance on the John Tory destroying issue of the campaign, faith based funding. Trina has always been a firm supporter of the plan, and pledged to vote in favour of it if elected and the Conservatives form government. Now as the Conservatives are going to be in opposition benches for awhile now, and Trina herself has/had zero chance of winning her left-leaning riding, it may just be her attempt to gain favour with party insiders, or at the very least, appear to take a stand. Now while Trina's stance is obviously wrong, I do give her credit for taking a stance.
Tim Peterson, the current pseudo-incumbent in Mississauga South, fails in this regard. As the only PC candidate currently in office, Peterson is the standard bearer for John Tory in this city. And yet while other PC candidates such as Mississauga East-Cooksville candidate Zoran Churchin, who has come out loudly against the plan, as has Nina Tangri, the Mississauga-Streetsville candidate, and Mississauga-Erindale candidate David Brown who seems moderately in favour of the plan, Peterson has refused to take a clear stand on the issue, which given his flip flopping, floor crossing ways is not a surprise.
In the Mississauga News:
"Tim Peterson, the Mississauga South candidate and only PC incumbent in Mississauga, also said he'd wait for the legislation and vote based on the will of his constituents. "Certainly my community leans against it, but I want to talk to them and see what the options are and what the legislation is," Peterson said. He added, "There's also quite a strong feeling that came out that everybody was surprised by, that there should be no funding for any faith-based schools, including the Catholics. We have to look at that as a possibility, too."
I find it supremely ironic that Tim is discussing following the will of his constituents, because his track record on that is hardly stellar. So basically, although you've known the content of the platform since you joined the party, you've had months to talk to policy advisers, community leaders, and the people of Mississauga South, you are still "undecided", and will basically vote as the polls see fit. Also apparently getting rid of Catholic schools are going to be part of the Progressive Conservative plan, according to Mr. Peterson.
The official press release is no better:
" John Tory is a principled Leader who listens to people. He has heard the message from people that there are different views across Ontario about his plan to bring faith-based schools into the public education system. As a result, John Tory confirmed today that he would ensure a free vote at Queen’s Park on this issue, demonstrating that he is listening to the concerns that were raised. I will consult with you, the people of Mississauga South by telephone, fax, Internet and mail to ensure your views are heard and I will vote according to your views. As you know, I feel passionately about representing your concerns. Over the last four years, Dalton McGuinty and his government have failed to address the many problems that confront you. I welcome the opportunity to continue working for you. I ask for your support and vote on October 10th. "
Yes, because principled leaders change the central campaign plank mid-election. Apparently Howard Hampton will wake up tomorrow and realize he better start campaigning in favour of the MPP pay rise (although given 2 of the NDP members didn't attend the vote on the raise because they privately agreed with it, maybe this isn't such a long shot).
So basically, if you vote for Tim, according to this release, you are voting for a candidate who hasn't made up his mind, is indecisive, and needs more time to come up with an about-face answer. That is not leadership, and that is not what Mississauga South needs.

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