NDP aftershocks will still be felt long after the party has faded into oblivion.

As the deadline for the Ontario provincial elections draw nearer, the chill winds of change are blowing through Queen’s Park.

The NDP is working furiously to provide itself a legacy so that when it is long gone as a political power in this province it will not be forgotten.  New, green health cards are on the way.  These cards, fronted by glossy promotional pamphlets, at least one per mailbox, and sometimes showing a redundancy matched only by the cards themselves, are a sure way to guarantee that every citizen always has a reminder of the NDP glory years close at hand.

Someone should tell Mr. Rae and the gang that they needn’t worry about being forgotten.  Their legacy is already well secured.

If there were no new health cards, no social contract  and replacement baseball at the Sky Dome, the educational maelstrom they’ll leave in their wake would be legacy enough.  And so, the people of Ontario, every man, woman and child will remember the early nineties and the Bob Rae government.

They will remember when the scores from standardized testing, based on the Common Curriculum are posted by the local Parent Council.  They will remember every time the body of the College of Teachers rails in fury at the steering committee, you know, the one with the kid on it.

Every time the Parent Council is split on whether to buy new books or paint the gym, dismiss Mrs. Glutz for being too strict or send her class on an all expense paid trip to Sierra Leone, the memory of the NDP will be there.

When ambitious parents line up through the night to enroll their children in the schools that have posted the best marks on standardized exams, the NDP will be remembered.

When at the school where the marks were not so great, the parents less able to join the quest for the Academic Grail are left behind to decide where to put the plank their children’s teachers are to walk, the NDP will be remembered.

In the dark recesses of staff rooms and libraries where teachers gather to study past exams in hopes of learning the key that will keep them from looking bad, the NDP will be remembered.

When all those antique computers are dropped on school doorsteps, who will there be to thank?

When those children who have spent the better part of their lives within walls of educational institutions are unable to afford those overpriced universities, who will they thank?

When the truant officer stalks the halls of the local maternity wards ensuring early registration…well, this may be an exaggeration, as downsized and efficient maternity wards will probably have “birthing chairs” that convert into slides, carrying mother and child directly to the parking lot, or the school bus.  The image of the NDP nineties will live on.

Of course, with transfer payments from the federal government shrinking, the NDP’s legacy may be nothing more than the memory of its leadership.  “Oh yeah, Bob Rae, what ever happened to that guy…song writer, wasn’t he?”