Today, the Liberal government voted down a school closure moratorium motion at Queen's Park despite the fact that as many as 600 schools across Ontario are facing the threat of being shut down.
The motion, introduced by the Progressive Conservatives, called for a province-wide moratorium so that the government can review and fix the guidelines that determine how schools are closed.
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, who was part of today's debate, called the governing party's move to vote down the moratorium motion unfair and a signal the Liberals are abandoning rural and Northern communities where most of the closures are slated.
"Employers looking to expand business and add jobs, such as Chapman's Ice Cream in Markdale and Bruce Power in Tiverton, deserve to have assurance that key amenities such as schools stay open. But this is not happening," MPP Walker said during today's debate.
"Kathleen Wynne made a statement that if a rural community provided concrete solutions to school boards, there was a chance they could keep their school open. No one has offered more of a concrete solution to the school boards problems than Chapman's Ice Cream," MPP Walker quoted from a letter from Ashley Chapman, vice-president at Chapman's Ice Cream in Markdale.
"We have offered millions of dollars in donations to keep our school open, and it seems like it isn't good enough. We have been accused of trying to start a two-tier education system in this province, but that is completely untrue. We already have a two-tier system; rural schools and urban schools," wrote Chapman.
MPP Walker said it was ironic that the Premier, who said she got into politics because of education, and her Education Minister, who dedicated her first speech at Queen's Park to fighting for community businesses, would be now fighting against the very principles they once stood for.