John Tory's private school scheme would lead to years of chaos, division in schools



    TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - John Tory demonstrated his bad judgment again
today with his attempt to clean up his private religious school mess. His
scheme to rip out $500 million from publicly funded schools for private
religious schools would lead to more years of chaos and division in our
schools, said Liberal Campaign Chair Greg Sorbara.
    "Nothing has really changed, except Tory has added a layer of bad process
on a reckless, irresponsible policy. The only way to end Tory scheming on our
schools is to vote Liberal," said Sorbara. "For the last three months he's
been losing support, and now he's lost his credibility. This is too important
to be making it up as you go along."
    Ontarians have been rejecting Tory's private religious school scheme and
more than a dozen candidates have questioned his weak judgment and two have
publicly stated they would vote against sending tax dollars to private
schools.
    "There will be a free vote by the people of Ontario on John Tory's
private school scheme on October 10th. That's when Ontarians can stand up for
publicly funded schools and vote Liberal," said Sorbara.
    "This is an appalling lack of leadership and weak judgment. A real leader
does not hurl the province into years of divisiveness, instability and
turmoil," Sorbara said. "This is the sign of a desperate man who is not ready
to be Premier."
    Tory's private school scheme would still put community rural and northern
schools at risk of closure as kids are enticed into private religious schools.
    "Just when our schools are recovering from the last round of Conservative
chaos, we can't afford to go backwards. This is about the two million kids in
publicly funded schools who finally have stability in the classroom, why would
we want to rip that away from them now?" said Sorbara.


    
                                                                Backgrounder

              John "I will not back off" Tory, in his own words

    Toronto - - Below is a sampling of statements by John Tory refusing a free
vote on his scheme to rip $500 million out of publicly funded schools, and
outlining why he would not back down:

    Toronto Star, September 18, 2007:
        "When you do something on principle that you really believe is the
        right thing to do... you don't back away. You never go wrong doing
        the right thing."

    St. Catharines Standard, September 25, 2007:
        "There are some matters of fundamental party policy.... that you
        don't have free votes on. My commitment was never to have a free vote
        on everything."

    John Tory Scrum, August 29, 2007:
        Toronto Sun: What would be your position on a free vote on something
        like your policy of faith based education? Would you allow your
        caucus a free vote on an issue like that?

        John Tory: I've always been very consistent, Antonella, if you look
        at the words I've used over time in saying that on significant
        matters of policy, of party policy, that you're going to have to have
        a caucus discussion and perhaps as often as not say that we're going
        to have to vote as a party on this.

        And that's the same as on the budget - I mean, a budget is a
        fundamental instrument of government policy where you can't be taking
        a chance, every time you bring a budget in, that even in a majority
        government, it might be defeated. And so your job as a leader is to
        earn the confidence of your members, but have them comfortable going
        in and saying 'we are gonna vote as one on this'.

        So I'm not saying, and the wording used today is the same as it's
        been every other day, that you're going to have a free vote on
        everything. There are certain fundamental matters of party policy
        that could range across a number of items on which you're gonna have
        to have a vote where party discipline prevails... But I think you do
        have to have some matters on which you stand together as a party and
        that you work internally to get people to feel comfortable voting for
        a given policy.

    Toronto Star, September 25, 2007:
        "But Tory said he expects candidates to stick to the party line and
        there will be no free vote on the issue if the Conservatives win the
        election."

    John Tory Scrum, September 24, 2007
        "It's obviously an important element of our platform and I would
        expect that people will support it. It's in our platform, we've said
        to people, it's in the platform you're gonna do what you said you're
        going to do."

    Cobourg Daily Star, September 28, 2007:
        "PC leader John Tory says he is not planning a free vote on the issue
        if he forms the government, but says he is not trying to silence
        those within his own party who are opposed to it."

    Kitchener Waterloo Record, September 24, 2007
        "You can't let the prospect of debate or of people putting ads in the
        paper deter you from taking a step that you think is the right thing
        to do."

    Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, September 18, 2007
        "These things aren't all about popularity contests. They're about
        doing the right thing."

    Ottawa Citizen, September 15, 2007
        "It's not about strategy. It's what fundamentally you believe is the
        right thing to do."

    Kingston Whig Standard, September 11, 2007
        "Any time you address an issue that's complex, you're going to have
        people that agree and people who disagree. I'm going to continue to
        push it because I believe it's the right thing to do."
    





For further information:

For further information: Ben Chin, (416) 961-3800 ext. 412,
ben_chin@ontarioliberal.ca

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