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Press Releases 2005

December 14, 2005

For Immediate Release


Klees: McGuinty , Ontario 's Self Appointed Official Parent


(Queen's Park) Education Critic, Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees charged today that the McGuinty government now thinks it's their job to discipline your teenagers by withholding driving privileges for 16 - 18 year olds who skip school or drop out.


The Minister of Education introduced "The Learning to 18" legislation yesterday, which raises the school leaving age to 18 from the current age of 16. The legislation would require that teens provide evidence that they are attending school or are excused from attendance at school under the Education Act to apply for their driver's licence, move from a G1 to a G2 or a full G licence.  Licences would also be revoked for truancy or dropping out.

"Now, this government thinks it's their job to ground your kids", said Klees. "That's a parent's job. Not a decision for the government. Welcome to Alabama North - because that's where the Minister got this idea that he put forward as legislation yesterday. It's unenforceable, impractical and has been introduced without a thought to the costs to administer and enforce, the effects on those young people 16 to 18 who have already left school and found employment, or families of those teens who, notwithstanding their school attendance status, rely on their son or daughter to drive. It's simply ill-conceived and should be withdrawn".


Employers will also be liable for fines of up to $1000 under this legislation if they employ 16 - 18 year olds who are skipping school or have dropped out. "Businesses have enough on their plates without becoming attendance police," added Klees. "It's just a punitive addition to the burden already carried by businesses."


Additional concerns raised by Klees included teens who would drive without a licence or insurance as a result of this legislation, as well as the impact on families in the North and rural areas who during many months of the year rely on ATVs and snowmobiles for transportation for which a driver's licence is mandatory. Klees added, "There are significant safety issues that come into play. There is a complete disregard for rural and northern concerns. It's pretty clear that this scheme hasn't been thought through and the Minister should withdraw it and come back with something more realistic. This is just a hare-brained idea that will require another huge bureaucracy to enforce."


For more information contact:

Frank Klees, MPP


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