Press Releases 2005
For immediate release
November 23, 2005
Minister Shows Contempt for Committee, Parents & Students
(Queen's Park) P.C. Education critic Frank Klees grilled Education Minister Gerard Kennedy three weeks ago during Estimates Committee Hearings for specific data on the number of suspensions, expulsions and exclusions which took place under the authority of the "Education Act" and the "Safe Schools Act" for children with special needs. (Hansard attached)
Following a press conference today, called by the Education Minister specifically for the purpose of releasing the information originally requested to be tabled with the Estimates Committee, Klees called Kennedy's tactics 'an affront to the legislative process'.
"I asked for this information on November 1st so the Committee would have time to review this information prior to the final day of hearings. The Minister did not provide this information to Committee members, as requested, nor has he tabled it with the Clerk of the Committee. Instead, he knowingly and wilfully ignored the Committee request and opted for a press conference and photo opportunity in yet another attempt to cover up his mismanagement of this file and use this highly sensitive information as a backdrop to support his political spin," said Klees.
As for the consultations on the Safe Schools Act, Klees said he has been receiving complaints from participants that the consultations are poorly organized and the discussion papers weren't made available until the last minute.
"Why were these consultations pulled together at the last possible moment?" asked Klees. ''Once again this Minister is more concerned about spinning information than dealing with it. He has ignored the pleas of parents who have been trying to get his attention on the abuse of the exclusion provisions, so this should not have come as a surprise to the Minister or his staff. It's unfortunate that it took repeated questioning by the opposition in Committee hearings to force him to acknowledge that there was even a very serious issue which needed to be addressed.
This is extremely disrespectful of parents, students, and all the educators who deal with these issues every day. Now Kennedy uses a press conference to spin his way out of an issue to which he was clearly oblivious prior to the grilling he took from opposition critics during the Estimates process. This is in every practical sense a contempt of the Legislature."
Klees commended the York Catholic District School Board for their exemplary results in the province wide survey that was released by Kennedy. "The York Catholic School Board had the fewest number of suspensions of any board in the province at . 5% of its student population. With some boards having suspension rates as high as 36.1%, clearly the York Catholic Board is doing many things right. This is a testament to the results that can be achieved when the Safe Schools Act provisions are used with sensitivity and the purpose for which the Act was intended," added Klees.
For further information
Frank Klees, MPP
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