Bob Runciman Reveals Tory's Plan for Faith Based Schools

    TORONTO, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - As Liberal candidate Lori Bryden begins a tour
of rural Leeds Grenville, she is looking forward to meeting and listening to
residents in all parts of her riding. "It is important to hear and respond to
the concerns of all citizens regardless of where they live in Leeds
Grenville," says Bryden.
    "It will be a priority for me to talk about the reality of the Tory years
and the implications of their platform," she adds. "It is important to note
that it was at an all candidates meeting last week, here at the Kemptville
Campus of the University of Guelph, that Bob Runciman leaked the Tory plan for
faith based schools."
    Bob Runciman is a senior caucus member and former Minister of Economic
Development in the Mike Harris Conservative government.
    Runciman said that implementation of the Tory plan for faith based
schools would be preceded by a commission traveling the province to review
education in Ontario.

    Three key points of the plan are:

    Faith based funding would not be fully implemented and funds would not
    flow to private faith based schools until 2010.

    The language of instruction in all Ontario schools would be either
    English or French only.

    There would be one school board - here Leeds - Grenville - the Upper
    Canada District School Board.

    "It is unthinkable that after three years of phasing in the plan, the
final result of this faith based funding scheme would be one board here in
Leeds-Grenville- the Upper Canada District School Board," says Bryden, a
teacher of 21 years in both the public and Catholic school system in Eastern
    "It is critical that everyone who sends their children to our local
public, Catholic and French schools are aware of this plan," Bryden says. "We
can only assume that this would be the pattern across Ontario -- one Board and
schools can teach their children in English or French."
    "It was clear from what Runciman said that faith based funding would
require $500 million to implement. Cuts would be devastating to publicly
funded education, and especially rural schools. However, now it is clear it
would come at the cost of the Catholic and Francophone systems," adds Bryden.
    North Grenville Mayor Bill Gooch is a strong opponent of expanding faith
based education. "I am really pleased that clarification on what has to be the
biggest con job of the century is finally out there," Gooch says. "I know that
there are thousands of people in Toronto and elsewhere expecting that they
will be educating their children with public funding come January. They are
also expecting to have their own school, teach in their cultural language and
set their own rules. It is timely that Mr. Runciman's admitted Mr. Tory's
plan. It is a myth that had to be blown apart," says Gooch.
    "It is clear that education in Ontario is working well and thriving with
our current system, says Ms. Bryden. "We do not need to eliminate school
boards and we do not need to cut billions from the system. Instead, we need to
focus our energies and resources on strengthening our publicly funded school
system, not throw it into disarray. This will be one of the many issues we
will bring to our local residents - letting them know what will happen to our
rural schools if the Tory plan is put in place."

For further information:

For further information: Marilies Rettig, (613) 246-4415

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