In my most recent column, I spoke a lot about water levels and the concerns we all have every spring. This year is no different with the one exception being the amount of snow this winter.
We continue to monitor water levels and they have begun to rise. So far, Mother Nature has been kind and we’re continuing to watch those levels closely. Everyone should be aware that they all share a responsibility to protect their property when they live in areas that are susceptible to flooding.
When you read this column, we will have tabled our very first budget under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford. I believe that you will agree that we have remained steadfast in our commitment to maintain a responsible path to balance.
I feel it’s imperative that I remind you that we were left with not only a deficit of $15 billion, but an accumulated debt of over one-third of a trillion dollars by the previous Liberal government. Far too much of your hard-earned tax dollars go to paying interest on the massive debt run up by the previous government.
Our motivation is crystal clear: in order to protect and ensure sustainability in our two most important files, health and education, we must do the responsible thing and make difficult choices.
We have already begun the process of transformational change within the health care system. As I meet with health care professionals from across the province, and indeed here in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, the vast majority share our belief that change had to be made or the system would simply collapse under its own weight.
You could not keep doing things the same way and just keep pouring more and more money into it. We have to do things better and smarter to ensure that top quality health care is available for Ontarians for generations to come.
Our education system is no different.
During the past 15 years, spending on education has more than doubled from $13.4 billion in 2004 to $29.1 billion in 2018. In spite of that spending, just 49 percent of Grade 6 students could meet the provincial standard in math, which is down from 61 percent in 2010.
In 2018, there were over 13,000 more teachers in our schools while student enrolment declined.
Our new education plan will place a huge emphasis on making sure that the students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. We will achieve this by concentrating on the basics of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
We owe it to the students. We owe it to the parents.
There will be those who will rise in protest, but we have to get this right. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing but the best, and I know there are teachers out there that want exactly the same.
Please allow me to also take this time to wish all of you, on behalf of Vicky and our family, a joyous Easter as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. Enjoy that special time with your family, as I look forward to it with mine.
If you have any concerns or issues you wish to discuss, please contact my constituency office. We would be more than happy to hear from you.
Berry, N. (2019,Apr.12) A Message from Queen’s Park – A Monthly Column by MPP John Yakabuski [Media release]