Greens: We can balance the budget and improve education in Ontario

Toronto, Ontario – Green Party of Ontario (GPO) Leader Mike Schreiner is disappointed with the McGuinty government’s decision on Thursday to slam the door on conversations with teachers.

“The GPO believes Ontario must balance our province’s budget,” says Schreiner. “The most progressive business leaders know that front line workers are in the best position to identify better, more efficient ways of doing things. The McGuinty government’s failure to work with teachers to identify savings is irresponsible.”

The Green Party of Ontario wants tax dollars spent on important public services, not interest payments on debt. The GPO is calling on the government to work with teachers to identify the most effective and efficient way to achieve cost savings.

“Picking a fight with teachers and refusing to talk about ending the wasteful duplication in funding separate schools is not putting our kid’s education first,” says Schreiner.

At the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) general meeting in Toronto members voted in favour of a motion that would see public funding of public education in Ontario limited to the public system. Only the GPO is calling for a public commission to determine the best way of merging the separate and public education systems into a single French and English school board. Studies suggest that this could save $1.3 to $1.6 billion in duplicate administration and operating expenses.

“The Liberals are making a big mistake slamming the door on an opportunity to balance the budget while improving the quality and fairness of our schools,” says Schreiner. “The old line parties have done nothing but present voters more of the same. Voters in by-elections in Vaughan and Kitchener-Waterloo can send a message to Queen’s Park: Ontarians expect modern solutions to modern problems.”