Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bob Chiarelli's strong response Randell Denley's attacks on Ottawa's schools

The Ottawa Citizen's Randell Denly has been a pathological critic of the Ontario Liberals for years, but in his piece two days ago he dipped into John Tory style "University of Zero" territory by attacking Ottawa's universities and colleges. Ottawa West-Nepean MPP and cabinet minister Bob Chiarelli had this response to attacks on our schools and students:

Randall Denley uses the MacLean’s magazine 11th place ranking of the University of Ottawa to conclude that this is a fundamental failing of McGuinty’s government to provide the basic needs of Ontario’s hospitals, public schools, and universities.

Well, McGuinty is the Premier of ALL Ontario, not just Sandy Hill where the University of Ottawa resides. Denley clearly chose to ignore that Ontario universities hold four of the top ten places in the MacLean’s ranking.

What idiocy could lead to Denley’s conclusion and what “fair comment” could consciously ignore this information on the very page staring back at Denley?

His self-interested deductive reasoning knows no bounds when it comes to spinning a reason to criticize a McGuinty, any McGuinty, or a Liberal, any Liberal.

Denley does collateral damage to a great Ottawa academic institution by his obsession to damage McGuinty’s reputation at any cost.

The MacLean’s ranking is mainly a statistical analysis of various types of grants, research dollars, ratios, and awards. For a bean counter like Denley that would be a happy mother lode to subjectively interpret.

And he also uses it to be, as usual, more about polemics than principle, more about partisanship than perspective.

During the last several years I was a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. I was extremely impressed with the faculty and student excellence and commitment at the graduate and undergraduate level. University of Ottawa graduates excel at the highest levels of virtually every field.

Consider the facts, though. Through McGuinty’s Reaching Higher commitment to post secondary education there are an additional 17,000 spaces in Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions.

At the University of Ottawa, McGuinty government investments include $15 million to expand the Alta Vista campus medical school; $50 million for the new Vanier Building; $23 million to support research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. The building of the $170 million Royal Ottawa Hospital has benefited the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Mental Health Research. Significant investments at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute have been a major contributor to its becoming one of the foremost heart institutes in the world.

The McGuinty government has invested more in quality health care and education in seven years than the previous two governments invested in thirteen years.

The Citizen should replace the high profile, drive-by smears by Denley with a columnist who can not only criticize but also occasionally champion Ottawa’s great institutions.

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