Good news: Hudak PCs would freeze full-day J/S Kindergarten

Credit Microsoft Clip Art

The sky is falling in Ontario. PC Leader Tim Hudak is now on record as saying, if elected, his government would freeze full-day junior and senior kindergarten (officially called the Early Learning Program) at current levels until the treasury indicated full implementation could proceed. Note that Hudak did NOT say his government would cancel the ELP! Rather, he simply said an Ontario PC government would “freeze” the program until Ontario taxpayers could afford it. 

Meaning, that what the Ontario Liberals are suggesting, indirectly, is that the same 4 and 5 year olds who would benefit from the ELP should be the ones to pay for it once they reach adulthood — which would take the concept of “student debt” to a whole new level! 

However, read this Ottawa Citizen column, “Hudak would freeze all-day kindergarten if he wins election” by Lee Greenberg, and you will know how this year’s Ontario election (October 6, 2011) is going to be fought. Will the McGuinty Liberals run on their record over the last eight years? Will they defend, for example:

  • Their broken promises, 
  • Their health care premium and how it hasn’t improved health care, 
  • Their HST and other tax increases,
  • Their green energy legislation and wind and solar power subsidies that don’t reflect reality; and
  • Their ever-increasing hydro rates?

Not likely.Rather, will they attempt to change the subject and create a crisis like they did with the faith-based funding issue in the 2007 provincial election? Yes, they will.

Leona Dombrowsky, the current Ontario Education Minister is actually quoted in the Citizen article that if the full-day kindergarten/ELP were frozen at current levels “it would create a crisis in the education system.” How? By creating a two-tier education system. Now, how lame is that? School boards currently have selected schools for special education and French immersion. How is this any different? It isn’t. That is just plain spin.

For instance, was there a crisis in the education system when, up to a year ago, junior and senior kindergarten were both a half day? I don’t recall any. I mean, if one school out of five still has the full-day program, all the school boards have to do is bus the children as they do now — assuming parents want that option. 

Then, of course, there is the unfortunate elephant in the room and that is the fact that the Liberals have already CANCELLED the before and after day care option. So, working parents will already have to make other arrangements in that respect.

So, PC Leader Tim Hudak is absolutely right when he says: “For those schools that have it [the ELP], we’ll keep the program. Our ability to expand beyond that is obviously contingent upon the funds that the premier leaves in the treasury.”

What a unique idea! Waiting until the treasury can afford the expansion of the program?

Actually, the only crisis in Ontario right now is that the McGuinty Liberals have taken our once great province from “have” to “have not” status and are not taking any responsibility for their part in that outcome.

Well, Ontarians will not be fooled this time. On October 7th, 2011, there will be a new government in Ontario, a PC government, a government that will bring back prosperity and govern responsibly while living within its means.  And, if that means freezing programs like the full-day kindergarten program, so be it because, as I said at the start of this post, it hardly seems right to leave the Ontario deficit and accumulated debt for today’s 4 and 5 years olds to pay off when they reach adulthood.

Endnotes: Here is what I have written about this topic before, as well as a Google page on the topic. C/P Jack’s Newswatch.

11 thoughts on “Good news: Hudak PCs would freeze full-day J/S Kindergarten

  1. Pingback: Sandy: Hudak PCs would freeze full-day J/S Kindergarten | Jack's Newswatch

  2. Be my guest Mr Hudak, I will stand back while you commit political suicide on the ELP.

    For people with small children it is not a political factor IF it comes some day but WHEN it comes. If their kids get older while they are waiting, Hudak could well lose the election on this alone.

    Welcome to Faith Based Schools 2.0

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    • Doug — You are promoting the McGuinty Liberal talking points very well. Not going to happen. The Hudak PCs are going to win this time because Ontarians can see through the B.S. Like I said, Hudak would not cancel the program. He would freeze it until the treasury, involving all taxpayers, can pay for it. This is NOT going to be faith-based schools 2.0. That stuck because voters were scared that they would have to fund private Muslim schools. Politically incorrect to say that? Probably but I got hundreds of e-mails to that effect whenever I wrote about it just being about choice. Had John Tory come out with a better and faster message, he would have won the 2007 election. It was not the FB policy that lost it, it was the way it was explained. Sorry, you are wrong this time. McGuinty and his crew are toast!!!

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  3. I think it speaks volumes that McGuinty is still entirely unable to tell Ontarions the endstate cost of his ELP. Charles Pascal, the chief architect, estimated $1 billion per year, now the cost is $1.5 billion per year and there are all sorts of issues likely to drive the cost well beyond that when fully implemented. I’m remined of Iggy’s complete inability to explain the details of the Liberal childcare plan which, we’re told, is a top priority.

    What I find really striking is that the MSM have made no effort to challenge the premier on what appears to be a massive ballooning of the cost of the program, largely due ro decisions made on a political, rather than educational, basis.

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    • Doug — It doesn’t save more than it costs. That is a progressive way of counting. Debt is debt. Until a year ago, we didn’t have that debt. Stop exaggerating.

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      • Doug — One more thing about the ELP paying for itself — the social costs of child care, prior to the ELP, were built in within society. Grandmothers took care of the kids half a day or mothers who worked part-time took care of their own children. Now, they have no choice. It’s all day or nothing. Moreover, I used to teach the sociology of deviance in education and adding an ELP is “not” how society saves money. To do that would have required the before and after care and that is no longer a board of education responsibility other than contracting with the Y or some other such non-profit or for-profit group — which the parents pay themselves.

        In any event, I am glad I now see how the McGuinty bunch and their public service unions are going to “try” to spin this. Won’t work this time, particularly given the Ford effect. And, no matter how hard the Toronto Star tries to demonize Hudak and the PCs, Ontarians are now much wiser and much poorer. To think some worried about the effect of financing faith-based schools. What a joke!

        Reminds me of the federal election in the late 1970s when John Crosby, the Finance Minister under Joe Clark, said his gov’t would have to raise gasoline by 18 cents. So, Trudeau promised not to raise it but once elected gradually raised it a dollar and started the accumulated debt that continues to grow today, although the Conservatives did pay down between $30 and $40 billion before the coalition partners forced them into deficit spending. But, that is another story. But, it is the way Liberals keep making promises they have no intention of keeping and yet we keep electing them. Perhaps, with Ford, that trend has stopped. One can only hope so.

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  4. The Ontario Liberals are toast and tacking another half day on to Kindergarten is not going to make any difference at all. The whole point of the ELP was supposed to an all-inclusive program — which it is not. The problem is that 900 more schools will be online in September, one month before the election date. That is pay off for the public sector unions to get the Liberals re-elected. It’s not going to happen because as Rob Ford showed, we have had enough entitlement to last for a hundred years or longer. And, those same unions, once they have something, will hold the public ransom to keep it. It is that arrogance that turns people off.

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  5. Perhaps find a better example than Mayor Ford. He cancelled a source of revenue for Toronto (vehicle registration tax), froze property taxes for this year and last week asked the province for 365 million dollars for various projects in Toronto. He also pointed out how much tax money is leaving Toronto and how much less it gets in return. “Ford Nation” may cause the PC Party some problems.

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    • Matt — I don’t keep close track of Toronto politics. I only know that the same people that voted for Ford will likely vote for the PCs in October. All levels of government, except the feds, complain about tax money that they don’t get back. The biggest contributor that way is, of course, Alberta. Toronto used to be a negative grant board and, as such, could afford programs and swimming pools that the rest of the province could only dream about. Now, we are all in the same pot. Naturally, more money is leaving than returning. Can’t be any other way if we continue to be a federation. I would imagine that most progressives would be the first to complain if the near north didn’t have enough money to staff their schools. However, if the ELP is really for the downtown of Toronto, it would have saved a lot of money just to implement it there in select neighbourhoods.

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