Doug Ford scraps Ontario’s $100-million school repair fund

Published On July 10, 2018 | By mikefurtado | News, Politics

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives scrapped a $100-million repair fund for Ontario schools. (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Michael Furtado

The Tories have held a majority government in Ontario for a short two weeks and drastic changes have already been announced.

Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government announced Monday it will cancel the current $100-million school repair fund, part of the Greehouse Gas Reduction Fund. Only works now underway will be honoured.

This cutback is in relation to Doug Ford’s campaign promise to end the province’s cap-and-trade system.

The news of this cancellation took many people by surprise, especially organizations dedicated to the betterment of Ontario’s school system. Organizations such as Fix Our Schools and the Campaign for Public Education were angered by the news.

Stephen Seaborn, spokesperson for the Campaign for Public Education, was taken aback by Ford’s decision, which was made without consultation.

“What is he thinking?” he said. “”When I say what was he thinking, I’m thinking who’s advising you here? The impact is so horrendous because it falls on top of a province-wide deficit in school repairs of $15.9 billion.”

Seaborn said the move will have a negative effect on the public’s perception of the PCs moving forward.

A major concern around Ford’s decision is how it caught many people off-guard. There had been no real discussion concerning this initiative during or after the campaign.

“One would think there would be a system, like there used to be in this province, consulting people before you make decisions that affect our lives,” Seaborn said.

He said he believes stakeholders should have been involved before any kind of decision was made by the PC government.

Campaign for Public Education feels the cut as a sense of defeat. It spent the last six months working with MPPs and during the election to sign a pledge to eliminate the $15.9 billion deficit within four years. The pledge was signed by 47 per cent of MPPs including 23 PCs, which includes Lisa Thompson, the current minister of education.

Seaborn is shocked that after all that work they still got “this knee-jerk decree.”

“If I were one of those MPPs who knew that school repairs were a problem, like the minister does, I would be royally pissed,” he said.

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