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Destroying the myths

Dear editor:

Along with many others in Northwestern Ontario, I find myself in a bit of a quandary over this coming Thursday’s provincial election.

For the past four years, the great province of Ontario has seen much growth and prosperity, improvement toward the education system, and a slow yet winning struggle to offset health care money taken away by the federal Liberals.

Unfortunately, our part of the province has had no representation in this government. Believe me, this is a lot more important than a lot of misinformed people think.

My concern comes from the lies being told us by incumbent Liberal and NDP members of our provincial legislature. Or, perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt and just say they don’t know the truth themselves and are being led down the garden path by their respective parties.

For example, they are telling us Mike Harris has cut education and health care. These seem to be two major myths they are holding on to. We can only hope the majority of the people see through the mist and fog before it is too late. In fact, most of us know the truth already.

Let’s look at education first. Even--no, especially--the conscientious teachers (and, thank God, they are a majority) know that education was once lacking in Ontario. Mike Harris came to the rescue, took away some of the money that was being wasted on administration costs, and put it into the classrooms, where it is now doing the most good.

And, he upped the ante. That’s right--myth #1 destroyed; more money is being spent on education under the PC government than ever before in Ontario history. These are the facts--the Liberal and NDP insinuations are just smoke and sorcery.

Let’s face it, folks, we have some pretty incredible teachers in our area. Why shouldn’t we give them the proper resources to weave their magic. Give it a chance--you’ll love the results down the road when your children are passing their grades because they are learning, and not just being put ahead a grade at a time to get them through the system.

On Thursday, let’s remember the Liberals and NDP both say they will scrap the PC’s education bill. Now that’s really uneducated thinking.

That brings us to health care. Do we not remember the federal Liberals (yes, Mr. McGuinty’s big cousins) pulling $2.8 billion out of our federal health care funding? For some reason, Mr. Hampton wrongly thinks (or at least is telling us) that this is Mike Harris cutting our health care.

In fact, Mike Harris has done a pretty darn good job of replacing that money, plus adding some more. For some reason, we are being led down the garden path (read “lied to”) by the NDP and the Liberals on this issue as well.

Myth #2 destroyed.

Excuse me, Mess. Hampton and McGuinty and all your cronies, but there are two new hospitals in Northwestern Ontario, as well as new long-term care bedding. And as for a quip from Mr. Hampton about “loved ones” not getting proper care--this really is a myth. I recently have had occasion to see firsthand the type of care people get in our local hospitals.

The nursing staffs--especially in Emo and Fort Frances--are beyond reproach and are extremely good with their patients. And I’m sure the majority of nurses in other areas are just as conscientious; we are indeed very lucky.

Yes, they are short staffed but do we know why? Let’s see now--health care spending is up in Ontario yet nursing is low. Mmm. Hey, I know--too much being wasted on administration again. And too darn many bad local decisions at that level.

Let’s face it, the same amount of money (or slightly more) is coming in yet they are cutting nurses? Is this a ploy to make the government look bad? Guess what? Mike Harris knows this and he is going to stop that, too.

I really hate to bring up this next item that is “stuck in my craw,” namely the spring bear hunt. I know we are tired of hearing how we failed and how we “got sold out.” But if we had elected “northern” PC candidates in the last provincial election, it is almost certain that “the hunt” would not have been cancelled.

Right or wrong, this annual activity does control the bear population and is a great source of income to our region. One small business owner told me last week that his income this spring probably is down 10 percent because of this closure. That is jut one small business in the whole of Northwestern Ontario.

One can guess the impact in lost income to everyone--outfitters, corner stores, clothiers, etc.--likely would be in the seven-figure bracket.

Folks, this is a direct result of northern, non-PC incumbents sitting idly (as usual) in Toronto and not telling their constituents what was happening until it was too late. And trust me, they knew what was going on--in fact, they encouraged it. Another ploy?

But--not to put all the blame on them--did you know the government sent letters to 223 northern municipalities asking them what the impact would be on their communities if the spring hunt was cancelled. Guess what? They only got back 19 (that’s right, 19 out of 223) responses. So let’s not “cop out” on Mike Harris over this one--he was told we didn’t care.

Get ready, folks. We are in for four more great years in Ontario--getting better all the time. Mike Harris is the closest we’ve seen to an honest politician in years--he does what he says he will do.

We best get on side and stop believing in all the myths and lies. It is definitely certain Mike Harris once again will form the next government. The north needs a voice, and I sure hope we are there with him because it will be great to have a “minister” again in our area (fond memories of Bill Noden.)

And, by the way, that recent letter in a Thunder Bay daily paper from a Thunder Bay teacher telling us how to vote in the new riding? Just another outsider trying to tell us what’s best for us. Reminds me a lot of the Shad Foundation.

This time around, let’s not take it for granted. If you care, get out on Thursday and “x” your opinion, too.

Friends, thanks for taking the time to read this letter. Best regards and good voting.


Doug Hodge

Emo, Ont.

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