Peter Bethlenfalvy MPP Pickering/Uxbridge
In our 2019 budget, we brought forward a responsible approach to restoring fiscal sustainability while preserving critical front-line services. It is time to return to the core commitment of our plan: to protect what matters most.
However, there has been criticism in recent weeks about some decisions in the budget. We know that the loudest critics are the ones who supported the Wynne government to get us to a $343 billion debt, spending $1.5 million every hour on interest-on-debt.
The question we must ask ourselves is: what did we get in exchange for an additional $200 billion debt burden and are we better off now than we were before? The answer is clear: no, not even close.
Our mandate is to protect core public services like health care and education. To achieve this, we are making an education investment of $1.6 billion this year alone to protect teacher jobs while boards align high school class sizes with other jurisdictions in Canada. We’re laying off zero teachers as a result of our class size and e-learning strategies.
From kindergarten to grade three there will be no changes to class sizes. Students in grades four to eight will see a minimal average increase of one student per classroom. Secondary students will see an average class size of 28 students – aligning Ontario with other jurisdictions in Canada.
We are modernizing learning in our education system by equipping students in Durham Region and across Ontario with the skills they need in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The long-term goal is to increase students desire to pursue math and sciences in high school and beyond.
For students with autism, school boards will receive an average of $12,300 for each eligible new student entering the school in the 2018-19. This will ensure that students get the support they need to succeed.
Under our watch, we will not allow our province to adopt the same failed policies as adopted under the previous government.
Ontario deserves a better, brighter, more prosperous future. That is what we are building – without apology, and with tremendous care of our children and grandchildren.
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