Friday, February 9, 2007

Quick links

Character-ism

The Free Press tagged along with Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty as he twigged through London on Wednesday. The word "character" is mentioned seven times in this article about his gratuitous stump-op at A.B. Lucas Secondary School, a number that staggers in any kind of association with McGuinty, a man who as the province's chief legislator sat in a crowded Tim Hortons for an hour without once being approached or recognized in any evident way.

While at the school, McGuinty exhorted his adolescent constituents to become "people of character," adopting for his audience the philosopher's stage method of "do as I say, not as I do." The premier may also have been signalling to the Ministry of Education to develop a new "Character Rocks" curriculum unit, to go along with other units like "The Common Good: Issues in Economic Sacrifice," "Lifestyle Choices: Experimentation and Support," "Grant Proposal Writing," "Generic High School Credit #47," and "Canada's Liberal Heritage."

Character-ism continued…

As a case study of the modern character that develops from this sort of political consideration, some other young Ontarians were at the same time Wednesday demonstrating theirs: whiny, pathetic and institutionalized. A busload of University of Western Ontario students "chanted slogans" outside the constituency office of Chris Bentley, Ontario's minister of training, colleges and universities, protesting tuition increases and demanding more tuition welfare and less personal responsibility.

"I'm already $40,000 in debt and I haven't finished my education yet," said Abudi Awaysheh, now working on a master's degree in pathology at Western.

… David Simmonds of Western's University Students' Council said some students can't afford a post-secondary education and many students have to work part-time to get through university. "We're tired of juggling 30-hour work weeks with 20 hours of classes and study time," he said.
Just wait until you start paying taxes, David! Since their tuition contributed only 27 per cent of college and university operating revenue in 2003, even before the province committed an additional $6.2 billion to post-secondary education, it is impossible to claim that their tuition is underfunded, unless of course that their objective is to become a complete ward of the welfare state. Although the Free Press article omitted any account of how Awaysheh and Simmonds were forced to purchase university education, they have clearly benefited from it so far, having learnt at least the critical underpinnings of economics of Ontario: that financial self-interest is achieved by agitating to have other other people pay for it.

Who dat?

In other McGuinty-related news, Canadian Press reporter Chinta Puxley was completely taken in by what was clearly an impostor passing himself off as Ontario's chief administrative bore:
Making it illegal for parents to smoke in a vehicle in which their children are passengers is a slippery slope that could infringe on people's rights, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday.

… "I'm just not prepared to go there," McGuinty said, adding it would start the province down a path that could lead to smoking bans in houses and apartment buildings.
The drone of insincere and clichéd rhetoric undoubtedly lulled the reporter into mistaking the identity of the speaker, but his or her suspicions should have been aroused by the contradiction of the Liberal government's official policy to throw itself down slippery slopes with gleeful abandon. If that were not enough, the invocation of "people's rights" in its proper and correct meaning was at least itself a dead give-away.

Trust for hire

Under laws passed this year, the Ontario government has given municipalities the option to use "broad powers to add an arsenal of independent watchdogs to safeguard the public purse and hold public servants and politicians to account." The legislation allows cities to hire:
  • an Investigator, to "probe complaints of council members meeting behind closed doors to discuss issues that should be done in public";
  • an Integrity Commissioner, to "enforce ethical matters";
  • an Ombudsman, to "probe complaints against city staff";
  • an Auditor General; and
  • a Lobbyist Registrar, to "help the public track who is lobbying whom."
London Coun. Joni Baechler has endorsed the measures as a way for politicians to "earn back [the public's] trust." That's right, we need these measures to protect the politicians from distrust! Unfortunately, it's impossible to calculate tax dollars per generated trust unit, but the demonstration is the point, not the amount of taxes needed to collect for it. But it is at least a pretty frank admission on Baechler's part that politicians by themselves are not to be trusted. And given the recent history of council's closed-door meetings and out-of-control departmental budgets, an Investigator and an Auditor General may at least be a useful investment for London's taxpayers, if not for its politicians as well.

3 comments:

rhebner said...

"In 2003, tuition fees comprised 27 percent of college operating revenue compared to about 11 percent in 1990."

Thanks for doing my homework for me. On Tuesday the radio news carried an item about a student making a strident appeal on Parliament Hill for more money to help pay for her education. My first thought was, how much do we already subsidize them, i.e. what percentage of the true cost of their education is covered by tuition?

To sum up this students plea, "I want you to pay more of my university education, even though I will be the main recipient and will benefit the most."

MapMaster said...

Post-secondary education and faculty employment, of course, has become a HUMAN RIGHT, which in modern parlance means SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING.

Anonymous said...

It is one of the stupidest follies this country has ever made to deliberately create a majority of uneducated citizens by allowing the cost of education to become so prohibitive. Canada's economy will suffer tremendously from this in the long run. Libertarians such as yourselves don't seem to see beyond one day to the next, however.