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The rubber ducky who came to the birthday party

Dear Editor,

Kathleen Wynne, the self-styled and self-acclaimed “Social Justice Premier” had no trouble aspiring to the top political position in Ontario during our last provincial election!  What a promise of hope, a refreshing and much-needed change of course at Queen’s Park!  Ms. Wynne had done a stellar job in the various portfolios to which she had been appointed.  She was an excellent Minister of Education, in particular!

Kudos to you, Ms Wynne, and to your Liberal Government for being proactive regarding the brilliant paper authored by Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh, on the topic Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario.  OW and ODSP rates have improved!  You have raised the minimum wage, and continue to do so.  Yes, you have taken some preliminary measures, albeit baby steps, to deal with poverty reduction in Ontario.  We have only just begun!  It is not enough!

Indeed, life is about choices!  I am afraid that you have made a few wrong ones recently!  I have no intention to create a litany of these poor choices here!

Well, enter the much-maligned Rubber Duckie, the inflatable fowl, the creature chosen to help celebrate our country’s sesquicentennial.  Truly, by common report, a foul choice!   I feel that was perfectly absurd, inane and inappropriate! Not a welcome guest in the minds of hundreds of thousands of those celebrating this landmark birthday!

Oh yes, I am fully cognizant of the fact that it did bring added revenue to the already overflowing capitalist coffers in the Land of Tourism in our capital city!

I do not recall that we, the taxpayers of Ontario were ever consulted, polled, or surveyed about this ridiculous undertaking!  Why, on earth, would someone who had called herself the “Social Justice Premier”, and had the audacity to utilize that nomenclature as one of her election platforms, not pause and reflect on the hundreds upon hundreds of our citizens who remain irretrievably trapped and clenched in the jaws of extreme poverty (including child poverty), homelessness, unemployment, underemployment, widespread illness (including mental illness)?

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada seeks to ameliorate the lives of our First Nations/Aboriginal, Metis and Inuit citizens.  Would a monetary gift from our provincial government to support the remarkable initiatives of our federal government not fly?

Another significant gift would be an agreed upon financial support to some of the thousands of refugees who are now in the process of settling in this vast and wealthy province.

What about a gift to support the good people who continue to memorialize the names of those who have died on our streets, of hunger, starvation and the cold, over the winters of the past decade?

Indeed, there is a multiplicity of ways that the tens of thousands of dollars spent on this absurd Rubber Duckie could have been spent!  I am thinking of practical and beneficial ways and means that would reach out to people and to begin to make a significant difference in their lives!

I never was able to ascertain the exact amount of money that was expended, or more accurately, wasted, on this silly project. I did hear that it was somewhere between a whopping $120,000 and $200,000!  No paltry sum of money, indeed!

It has been said that the high water mark of a civilized society is determined and attained by the maner in which that society treats its poor.

Ms Wyne, we, as a province have failed abysmally!

Your rating and popularity in the polls have plummeted drastically.  There was such promise, such hope and potential when you won the top position at the helm of the Ship of State in the province of Ontario!  Sadly, so much of this has flown away!

I ponder this question. Was the strategy that the provincial Liberal government utilized for Canada’s 150th  birthday celebration, a last-ditch effort to remain afloat?

Perhaps we could even assume that this might be considered Ms. Wynne’s swan song?

It had even crossed my mind that there could be some lame-duck phenomenon transpiring here.

Only time will tell!

In conclusion, if I have ruffled a few feathers, then I have accomplished my mission!

Ted Glover