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Fairness in Education

July 23, 2007




The Hon. Bill Davis to head Public Education Fairness Implementation Commission

( Toronto , ON ) - Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory and York Region MPP Frank Klees, the PC Education Critic, announced today that one of Ontario 's leading pioneers of tolerance and diversity in public education has agreed to help find the best way to bring even more of Ontario students into our public education system.

Under a PC government, former Premier Bill Davis would be appointed to lead a Commission to review options and make recommendations about how Ontario 's public school system could become more inclusive of faith-based schools.

" Ontario has funded faith-based education to varying degrees since Confederation," said Klees. "This inclusive approach has proven to be successful in managing and respecting religious diversity within public education. It has taught children of different of ethnicities and faiths to value our respective religious and cultural heritages, while also being unified by common standards and equivalent experiences."

Faith groups have said that they feel betrayed by Dalton McGuinty for offering them vague reassurances in private on this issue, and then engaging in divisive rhetoric in public. In contrast, John Tory said he would speak openly and welcome discussion about his plan to reduce the separation that exists between students in faith-based schools and those operating in the public system.

Specifically, Klees said that a John Tory PC Government would:

  • Preserve and strengthen Ontario 's public school system;
  • Expand the system subject to clear conditions to reflect and embrace the changing diversity of our population;
  • Use this expanded system to bring people together and promote integration within Ontario 's public education system, both through academic programming and extracurricular activities;
  • Ensure that, with public funding, comes public accountability, including requirements to teach the Ontario curriculum, standardized testing and teacher credentialing.

The Public Education Fairness Implementation Commission, which would be chaired by former Premier and former Education Minister, the Hon. William G. Davis, will ensure that this expansion is undertaken after significant public consultation and with solid and responsible planning, with pilot programs beginning in September 2008.

Mr. Davis, a strong supporter of public education throughout his career and to this day, transformed Ontario 's education system during his term as Minister of Education from 1962-1971. He went on to serve as one of the most respected Premiers of Ontario from 1971-1985. During his time as Premier, he introduced legislation to strengthen medicare, public transit, mental health programs and environmental protection. He was named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1985.

" Ontario 's public school system is one of the best in the world. We have an opportunity to strengthen and expand upon that success responsibly in order to provide more Ontarians with the same opportunity our Catholic school system provides," Klees said. " Ontario needs a leader who will ensure that children of all faiths are part of a public education system that reflects and strengthens our shared values and shared belief in public education through common standards of curriculum, teaching and accountability."

For more information about John Tory's plans to improve Ontario 's education system, visit

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Ontario Hansard April26, 2006

Today in the legislature Peter Fonseca made the following resolution which was subsequently defeated :

Mr. Peter Fonseca (Mississauga East): I move that, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario affirms that its commitment to students in the public education system is so strong that it opposes any attempt to take public money and hand it over to private schools.

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): I find this resolution to be one of the most offensive pieces of legislation ever presented to this Ho use. I find the member's comments this morning to be crass, partisan and offensive to people who are observing this debate. We have students from Bais Chomesh High School here today, representatives from the Multi-Faith Co alition for Equal Funding of Faith-Based Schools and a representative from the Parents for Educational Choice. The public will draw their own conclusions about Mr. Fonseca's comments today.

Click here for the complete record of Mr. Klees comments

Ontario Hansard - 01-May2006

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): I rise today on behalf of the official opposition to acknowledge Education Week in Ontario. Public school boards across Ontario are celebrating this week with the theme Making Every Student Count. Catholic school boards are celebrating Catholic Education Week with the theme And God Saw that it Was Good.

This week has been set aside as a week to honour and recognize those who work with Ontario's education system, and we join in acknowledging the dedication of all who contribute to the acquiring of knowledge, the building of character and the development of responsible citizens. This includes teachers, principals, administrative and support staff, and parents, who must always be embraced as key partners in education.

In keeping with the theme of Education Week, we must also acknowledge the significant contribution to our province that is made through the province's independent and faith-based schools. Just as Ontario's Catholic schools celebrate the unique identity and distinct contribution that Catholic education makes to Ontario's education system, we cannot ignore the petitioning of those who are calling on this Legislature to treat all faith-based schools in Ontario fairly and equitably and without religious discrimination, to ensure that indeed we make every student count.

Recent News Articles:

The Star

October 19, 2007

Ian Urquhart -interviews Frank Klees

Faith-based plank not mine, Klees says click here

Jewish Tribune May 3, 2007

Fair funding groups elated when bill calling for no aid to private schools defeated

"MPP Frank Klees, champion of the fight for equality and fair funding in education, regarding the vote that took place last Thursday."

click here

Stuart Lewis, Executive Director

Ontario Association of Jewish Day Schools

"Frank,...This has indeed been a great day and once again I want to thank you so much for your principled, forthright and passionate position I witnessed in the legislature today."


The Canadian Jewish News Feb 22, 2007

View the many letters and emails with feedback on this topic

click here

Klees calls on the Minister of Education to publicly apologize to the students, parents and educators of Ontario's private schools more...  May 10, 2005 response May 11, 2005