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Ontario Votes 2003
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Election Day: Oct. 2, 2003   

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Letters from Sept. 24
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Working in Indonesia a few years ago, I met a man from Montana, one of the most rightwing, anti-government states in the U.S. He'd been in Indonesia for a number of years, and we were discussing the poor state of its infrastructure, the open sewers, clogged roads, the pollution, poverty, inadequate education and health care, the huge gap between rich and poor, the crime and corruption. His comment was, "I hate taxes, but when I get home, I'll pay them gladly, now that I've seen the alternative."

The NDP governed during a massive, worldwide recession. The U.S. had little to spend and a high Canadian dollar discouraged them from spending it here. Despite that, the NDP government maintained services, prevented the collapse of personal spending, and put Ontario in a position to capitalize on growth in the U.S. market.

Thanks to that growth, a very low Canadian dollar, and very low interest rates, parts of this province (definitely not the north) have done very well.

Tax cuts had nothing to do with this.

They were unnecessary. They merely served to decimate the structure and fabric of the province. Following eight years of economic boom, we have failing schools, a failing health-care system, a failing power grid, failing food- and water-inspection services, and a Conservative government that will blame everyone but themselves.

Mr. Eves says we need more tax cuts. He says we must have more tax cuts to remain competitive. Well my question for Ernie Eves is, what countries are we competing with? What third-world nation are we trying to emulate?

- Rob Harris
 Sudbury


I could not believe Eves' behaviour in the debate. It was clear that he was trying to ignore McGuinty by looking down at his paper and doodling, or staring straight ahead as he was spoken to. Ernie can't look people in the eye when they challenge him.

- Jamie van Sydenborgh
 Hamilton


I did not see the debate live, but saw a few short clips during the CBC news later that evening. From those clips I thought the debate was one in which everyone was talking at once and no one was listening.

Watching the debate on-line I see that for much of the debate this was not the case. I actually thought this debate was rather civilized.

As for the performance of the three candidates, I believe, without a doubt, that the debate was won by Ernie Eves. Honestly, when Ernie Eves became premier I was not impressed with his lack of direction. Things appear to have changed, however, and it is evident in this debate. He proved to be, by far, the strongest candidate with the best answers.

It is clear that Ernie Eves does have what it takes to keep Ontario heading in the right direction.

The debate cemented for me that the other two leaders do not. If Dalton McGuinty happens to win this election, he will be in for a shock at what is required to run Ontario.

As for the continued attacks on private schooling by the Liberals and the NDP, they should remember that those families would still be paying half the taxes that a student going to a public school is paying, without the student occupying a space in that school. How can anyone even argue against that? Basically, the public system is still getting money while not using up any resources to teach that individual.

The public system needs competition. Without it, it becomes a system of the lowest common denominator. Competition results in dramatic improvements wherever it is introduced.

- Chad Lingrell
 Ottawa


Howard Hampton definitely will receive my vote after the televised leaders' debate. Mr. McGuinty and Ernie Eves both refused to answer the question, "what will you sell off?" Hampton is the only candidate that offered clear, compelling answers to all questions. The other two were typical, fudging politicians.

- Gloria Bergen
Toronto


I am voting Conservative. Here are my reasons:

1. My family is financially much better off today than it was eight years ago.

2. We are not considered rich, but we are sending our children to private school for a better education. This we hope this will benefit them and society as a whole (at least that's what we hope). The tax break will come in handy. Presently we are giving up vacations and new cars for their education.

3. I have no complaints about health care. In the last eight years my wife gave birth twice, I had elective surgery with a three-day stay, and my son was admitted for 10 days. Our experience was great.

4. A person can do only two things with their disposable income: spend it, or save it. Economic statistics show that most people spend it. Therefore, lowering taxes and giving tax breaks will provide more disposable income, which will induce spending and create jobs.

- Don Licursi
 Ottawa


I have looked with interest over the platforms of the three main parties. I note, with much dismay, that both the Liberal and the NDP parties would cancel the "Equity in Education Tax Credit" program. However, there is no indication of what they would do instead.

Do both parties believe that it is fair, just, and correct, to provide government funding only to the Catholic (separate) and public school systems? If they cancel the tax credit that is the message that they are sending. Is it fair to provide faith-based education to Catholic students, but not other faith groups?

It seems pretty clear cut to me that you need to either fund everyone, or no one. However, I don't see any party suggesting that Ontario cut funding to the Catholic schools.

Note that in 1999 a United Nations human rights committee ruled that Ontario was being discriminatory by funding education for Roman Catholics, but not other religions. The Equity In Education Tax Credit goes a long way to help blunt this judgement.

In the past I have seen the parties try to paint this issue as one about elitism and privilege, which it is not.

I don't like reducing an election to one issue, but at this point, unless I hear something better from the Liberals or NDP, there is no way that I can support them in this election. There are decades of injustice that are being corrected by this tax credit.

- Art Mulder
 London


I must say that I am shaking my head after reading some of the thoughts others have sent. When will people wake up to the fact that less freedom and more taxes do not create an ideal society?

I usually run into a wall of resistance from people when I voice my assertion that the government should not be involved in health care, insurance, utilities, or education. People seem to think these things are too important to place in the hands of private interests. On the contrary, I feel that these things are far too important to entrust to politicians and bureaucrats.

It never fails to surprise me that we (the Canadian people) can be duped so easily by slick politicians telling us they know better than we do. The three major political parties in our country are, unfortunately, just three sides of the middle. I have trouble believing that any of them can give us either more money in our pockets at the end of the month, or more for the money we do pay in taxes (without piling up more debt).

It is high time citizens discovered the fact that we are over-regulated and over-represented by politicians. Their feel-good social programs that treat the symptoms rather than the cause, not to mention the scandalous amounts of money wasted on other things, have resulted in giving us an unfair tax burden. State-run enterprises result in monopolies, which in the private sector would be looked upon as evil and greedy.

Do we really want people like these making decisions that impact our lives to such a great degree? I don't. They simply have too much power, and it's time to begin to shift that power away from the government.

- Michael Matheson
Stoney Creek


I can't believe that people in Ontario are being fooled by the Liberals. Dalton McGuinty is saying anything, promising anything to get elected. His job is on the line, so of course he'd do anything.

His policies are very similar to Ernie Eves actually, only we won't see tax cuts. To go from the mess we had before the Tories, to the shape of our province now, I have to ask, why change to something so unpredictable.

Choose change only means that Dalton chooses to change his mind whenever it will help him win. Don't trust this guy. This province is already heading in the right direction.

- Tanya Dunford
 Buckhorn


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