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Double standard

March 1, 2018

It used to be that politicians’ kids were off limits.

Specifically, reporters and columnists were careful about reporting where the children of politicians went to school. It used to be beneath contempt to use them as a weapon.

It was, we were told, none of our business.

The 2007 provincial election was all about education. Specifically, it was about faith-based schools. The McGuinty Liberals were on the attack against then PC leader John Tory’s pledge to fix the century old unfairness that is explicit in the Ontario public school system, whereby only one faith – Catholic – has its schools paid for from the public purse.

Tory suggested funding all faith schools.

In one of the most disgusting displays of hypocrisy, McGuinty and his Liberal sheep candidates prissily opined that Tory’s plan would confine students to silos. Never mind that McGuinty’s kids all went to Catholic schools and that his wife taught in a Catholic school, he sanctimoniously declared throughout that campaign that faith schools were bad.

And his finance minister, Greg Sorbara, sent all his kids to private schools – a fact no one in the media wrote about. So much for “silos.”

The only conclusion I could come to was that in the eyes of the Liberals, Catholic and private schools are good silos and Jewish and Muslim schools are bad ones. And that’s revolting. Apparently, I was the only person who came to that conclusion. Tory was roundly punished for his platform and McGuinty and all his wasteful baggage were re-elected.

Now PC leadership contender Caroline Mulroney is under fire for sending her kids to private schools. And since she’s a Tory, that’s OK. Liberals can send their kids anywhere they want and no one will raise that issue – even when it’s central to the campaign.

It used to be beneath contempt to drag a candidate’s kids into the campaign. But Liberals are losing badly in the polls, so no depth will be unplumbed. Their nasty attack dogs are already baying for blood.

Here’s the thing: Parents make decisions that are in the best interests of their children. Mulroney and her husband Andrew Lapham, like hundreds of thousands of other parents, have chosen what they believe is the best for their children. Perhaps what they see in the public system worries them. Looking at the math curriculum, I’d agree. The system is failing thousands of kids.

The Liberals have been in charge of the public school system for the past 15 years. Thousands of parents have voted with their feet and removed their kids because they don’t like what they’re seeing there. Perhaps Mulroney would like to bring the public system up to a better standard so that all parents can put their kids in it with confidence. It’s not her system to defend. That’s up to the Liberals.

Perhaps the question would be better put to Kathleen Wynne: Why are thousands of parents choosing to put their kids in private schools? What are you doing to reverse this trend? Why is the Ontario system no longer one in which parents show confidence? What are you doing to improve the math curriculum that is failing thousands of bright kids?

Her choice is a stinging indictment of the Liberal education system. It seems the politics of envy only apply when it is a Tory voters are envying and not a Liberal. When Liberals put their kids in private schools during an election when separate education is front and centre, everyone snoozes. When it’s a Tory, they go on the attack. I’ve seen it over and over.

Where does Mulroney send her kids to school? It’s none of your business – for any number of reasons.



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