Photo: Bill Walker
Bill Walker MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound

Bill Walker MPP

Media Release:

Media Release: image
MPP Bill Walker joined local students Malcolm and Tess Bainborough on the southgrounds at Queen’s Park where they rallied against school closures.

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2016

A moratorium, not conversations can stem mass school closures across rural Ontario, says MPP Walker

QUEEN’S PARK – Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker today slammed Education Minister Mitzie Hunter for taking rural Ontario for granted with her announcement of a “conversations” tour that will see three Liberal party members stop in communities hit with school closures.

“With the Minister’s expressed rejection of a moratorium on school closures, her refusal to fix the school funding formula, and her dismissal of reinstating the community impact component of the review process, it’s very clear she has no intention of listening and in fact supports school closures across rural Ontario,” Walker said. “No so-called ‘listening’ or ‘conversations’ tour will change that fact.”

In today’s Question Period, Walker challenged the Minister for opening the tour to Liberal party members only.

“Ontarians can smell a junket when they see one, and they know this tour is no fact-finding mission. It’s about damage control, and the Liberals looking out for their best interests, not Ontarians,” Walker said. “If the Minister believed in trust, collaboration and transparency, then she  would have invited all elected representatives, not made this tour a Liberal-only invite.”

Walker also said parents and students are too weary to trust the Minister’s motives are sincere this time.

“The Minister blew the public’s trust once before when she failed to consult them on the new accommodation rules, resulting in possibly as many as 600 more school closures in Ontario,” Walker said. “Considering there is a serious deficit of trust and credibility with this Minister and her government, why should they trust her now?”

The only way to be sincere about listening to the communities, municipalities, boards, parents and students is to accept their plea for a moratorium, fix the education funding formula, and reinstate the community impact component in the school review process.

“Words are hollow unless they’re followed by action,” concluded Walker.

“School closures have a devastating impact on our communities. At the going rate, the Liberals will have shut down almost one half of rural schools since taking office in 2003,” he said, adding that there were 670 rural and Northern Schools in 2003, compared to about 420 today.

“Sadly, after 14 years of waste, mismanagement, and scandal, your government is trying to balance the books on the backs of our students by fast-tracking school closures,” he said. “But, please be assured, my colleagues and I will not give up the fight. It’s never too late to do the right thing!”

CONTACT:  Ana Sajfert | | 416-325-6242

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