Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Premier Wynne returns to work poorly

Yesterday Ontario Liberal Party leader, and therefore Ontario's Premier, returned from vacation to her role as Liberal leader.

Wynne, Justin T. and Ben Levin (since conficted of child porn charges)-source
During the week she was away there were a couple of incidents one might have expected the Premier to be around to address: 
  • a transformer station failed causing prolonged power supply problems in a transmission system that had been referred to, years ago, as, "the weakest of any major financial centre in North America and probably the weakest such centre in the OECD"
  • Benjamin Levin, the deputy minister that served in the Ministry of Education while Kathleen Wynne was the minister, a man who recently served on the transition team as she became Premier, and shared a stage with her at Toronto's recent Pride festivities, was charged with child porn offences
In her return to the public stage, the unofficial scribe of the Liberal Party of Ontario tells us:
“Ministers and deputy ministers do not write curriculum,” said Wynne, a former education minister whose revamp of sex education was kiboshed by ex-premier Dalton McGuinty in 2010 after some religious groups complained it was too risque.
“Curriculum is written by subject experts in conversation and in consultation with a wide array of people — and curriculum is reviewed and written on an ongoing basis...
So you know, any suggestion that there was that kind of interference, it just demonstrates a lack of understanding of how curriculum actually is written”
Followers of Ontario's electricity sector could have taken some solace in this Premier enunciating such a vision of bureaucratic competence, but they would not recognize it in the Ministry of Energy, nor, probably, would followers of the sex-ed curriculum Wynne is fictionalizing a history of.

From the time the curriculum changes died in April 2010:
A controversial new sex education curriculum that would have seen Ontario children learn about sexual orientation in Grade 3 and masturbation in Grade 6 will be postponed and reworked, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Thursday.
It's obvious from listening to parents over the past two days that the curriculum needs a "serious rethink," McGuinty said after an unrelated event in London, Ont.
"We'll take the [sex ed curriculum] we had proposed putting into place back off the shelf," he said.
The government, McGuinty added, will "create more opportunities for parents to lend shape to a policy with which they are more comfortable."
"I know that parents are supportive of the idea that children should be taught about their body parts, relationships and those kinds of things," said McGuinty. "But they are obviously not comfortable with the proposal that we put forward, and so we are going to improve upon that."
The old boss killed it (after parents entered the conversation), and Wynne soon had a change of portfolios.

In Wynne's first news conference as Premier she claimed the curriculum was coming back: Premier Kathleen Wynne promised to bring back a controversial sex-ed program at her first news conference after winning the leadership of Ontario’s Liberal Party.

The curriculum, which would have had students learning about “gender identity” in grade 3 and anal intercourse in grade 7, was shelved temporarily by Premier Dalton McGuinty in 2010 after strong backlash from parents.
No change in what ministry workers were developing in the interim 3 years?

By June the usual coalition of well-funded (by government) groups were ready with material to lobby the government to act on the unpopular thing the government wished to do:
Ontario now boasts the most dated sexual education curriculum in Canada, largely untouched since 1998. Parents, teachers, and health experts are demanding another attempt at reform. Gathering at Queen’s Park on Monday, the coalition called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to shepherd sexual education into the 21st century.
Shepherds' sexual education jokes aside...
The problem that is preventing acting on the Premier's curriculum is the belief of those in her party that,“We won’t get a single new voter with this. We can only lose voters.”

If there is any doubt that politics drives policy, today's release by the Ministry of Energy announcing, at the start of a consultation process for the long-term energy plan, that the conclusion is already known, should put it to rest.

Premier Wynne was already appearing to be a follower of Janus in talking about communication while accelerating renewable energy certificate approvals for wind projects that are, as we've seen during this week's hot spell, totally irrelevant to meeting Ontario's electricity requirements.

The ministry release has the hallmarks of the bad/faked planning that Parker Gallant has calculated will cost Ontarians over $100 billion by the time all the poorly conceived commitments have been fulfilled:

If there is to be meaningful input in a meaningful consultation this routine of funding groups to back poor policy positions has no place in it.

If there is not to be a meaningful discussion it would probably be politically astute for those concerned with the direction of the past 10-years of energy policy by parasite to instead discuss kiddie porn, grade 3 sex ed, and the Premier of Ontario's relationship to both, instead of doing the hard work of providing thoughtful input into an electricity system.

That would be unfortunate.

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