In the Ontario elections held on October 10, the Liberals led by Dalton McGuinty returned to power. The results were not very different from those in the previous election, though the Liberals won this time with a smaller percentage of the vote. Funding for religious schools was the issue that had the attention of voters, apparently.
Conservative leader John Tory had proposed that Ontario fund all religious schools, rather than just Catholic ones in the Separate school system, as is currently the practice.
|Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty (L) and his wife Terri watch results of the Ontario provincial election in Ottawa October 10, 2007. REUTERS/Chris Wattie|
While his stand makes sense in terms of fairness, it definitely did not resonate with the public. Toward the end of the campaign, he responded to backlash among Conservative supporters by saying that, instead of insisting on party solidarity on the issue, if he were Premier he would allow a free vote in the Ontario Parliament, a move that would virtually guarantee its defeat.
The Canadian Islamic Congress gave its support to the Conservatives because of the issue, while the small, more liberal Muslim Canadian Congress stated its opposition to government support of religious schools.
Interestingly, the Green Party, which favored abolishing the Separate system entirely, experienced a marked increase in its vote, while failing to elect any members.