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In a Direct Line - Photo by Ulli Diemer

A crisis manufactured by the Harris government

By Ulli Diemer


Given that the financial crisis affecting the Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton schools boards is the result of the unworkable funding formula imposed by the Progressive Conservative government, there is a certain logic to the government taking direct control of the boards.

Why should the elected trustees take the blame for implementing the government's destructive and dictatorial policies? Let the government do its own dirty work, so it is clear to all who is responsible for the mess the education system is in.

This is a government which openly stated that it intended to create a crisis in education. It has pursued that aim in a manner which can accurately be described as Stalinist: ignoring public input as well as expert advice, moving at breakneck speed to ram through ill-conceived ideologically driven schemes with mindless arrogance.

Along the way, it has plundered the funds raised by the city boards from their own taxpayers, gutted local democracy, and created chaos.

The funding formula is a straightjacket which makes no distinction between the needs of an inner-city classroom where more than 90% of the students don't speak English, and a classroom in a small town where 100% of the students are Canadian-born and English-speaking. The formula doesn't even admit that the costs of heating a building built in 1920 are different from the costs of heating a building built in 1995. It is unworkable, and wilfully ignorant.

Rather than admit that its policies are disastrous, the government is instead choosing to impose direct dictatorships over the boards so that it can continue to ignore the parents, teachers, students, and democratically elected trustees who want to protect our schools.

This a government which is not fit to govern.



Ulli Diemer
August 22, 2002
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