Frank Klees

Press Release

For immediate release

January 13, 2010

 

 

ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN

Klees: The principle is right, the timing could not be worse!

 

 

(Aurora) Premier Dalton McGuinty needs to explain to Ontarians how he’s going to pay for a costly new all-day kindergarten program unveiled Tuesday, says Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees.

 

It’s been nearly three months since the McGuinty government revealed it faces a $25-billion deficit, yet not a single meaningful restraint measure has been announced, Klees said.

 

“And now we have this announcement, which confirms that the McGuinty government’s only plan for the deficit is to increase it,” said Klees. “At some point, the premier and his ministers have to understand that their warm-and-fuzzy photo ops come with dire consequences for the taxpayers of Ontario.”

 

Dalton McGuinty announced a list of almost 600 schools across the province that will provide all-day instruction to four- and five-year-olds. When fully implemented by 2015, the Liberal government claims the price tag will be $1.5 billion annually.

 

“Based on this government’s track record, we have a pretty good idea that the actual cost will be far higher,” Klees said. “And there are only two ways to pay for it: hike taxes or force school boards to cut somewhere else, short-changing other students. This would not be the first time school boards have been forced to rob Peter to pay Paul.”

 

Some school boards say the program is poorly thought out, details are vague, and there’s little indication that it will be fully funded, especially to create the space that will be needed.

 

Klees said he supports the principle of early childhood education, but questions why the haste to implement all-day kindergarten now in light of the province’s dire fiscal circumstances.  “As with the HST, the principle is right, but the timing could not be worse.  In fact, it’s downright irresponsible,” said Klees.  In addition to the fact that we can’t afford this, Klees points out that by making the program available only to some schools initially, many families will be left questioning the fairness of how the plan is being implemented.

 

“York Region has 247 elementary schools, and only 39 of those schools have been chosen to deliver the program, 2 in Aurora and 3 in Newmarket,” said Klees.  “What about the families in the remaining 212 school areas?  How does Mr. McGuinty explain to them that they don’t qualify?”

 

Why the rush to bring in a $1.5 Billion program at a time the province is spending $25 Billion more a year than it’s bringing in?  Klees insists it’s all a cynical attempt by the McGuinty government to direct attention from its record of fiscal mismanagement, a year-long record of scandals and a string of cabinet minister resignations.  “Hopefully, Ontarians will see this for what it is,” said Klees, “A government that is out of touch with reality and has failed in its stewardship responsibility to the citizens of this province.”

 

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For more information contact

Frank Klees, MPP

416-509-8999