Ford Government’s Campus Speech Proposal: A Good Start, but Misses the Point

While I spend a lot of my time dumping on Liberals and lefties, I’m hardly an uncritical follower of Conservative governments. Case in point, the Ontario government’s initiative to protect free speech on university campus. (Thanks to Chris Selley for flagging this)

Now, at a high level, protecting free speech is a good thing, and there ample evidence that Ontario’s universities at best don’t take the concept seriously, at worst are actively hostile to the concept in practice – examples abound, the persecution of Lindsay Shepard at Wilfred Laurier University (who was vindicated only because she had the foresight to record her persecutors so that the untruth of their positions could be exposed) Queen’s university’s program (since cancelled) to hire “facilitators” to monitor the speech of other students, countless speakers (curiously – if you’re awfully naive – usually of a conservative variety) disrupted or cancelled. So the Ford government’s commitment to protecting free speech is welcome.

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Ontario’s Liberals Failed Our Children

The most shameful aspect of Ontario’s former Liberal government was its abject mismanagement of Ontario’s public education system, reflected in the steady, significant and shocking (though, perhaps, not surprising, in light of the content of their policies) decline in math education in this province.

This decline is evidenced, most recently, by the release of grade 6 math test scores showing that only 49% of grade six students are meeting provincial standards. We have an education system which fails to impart key skills to just over half its students. Shocking on it’s own, but all the more so since, as recently as a decade ago, that number was 63%. Similar declines show up in grade 3 math testing and in international PISA test scores. The Liberals took an education system that was not particularly good at teaching math in the first place (that only 63% of grade 6 students made the grade in 2008-09 was scandalous enough) and made it much, much, worse.

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