QUEEN’S PARK – Today in the Legislature, Ontario PC Deputy Leaders Sylvia Jones and Steve Clark demanded the Premier demonstrate accountability for her government’s $2.5 million payout to the teachers’ unions.
“The government won’t tell us where the $2.5 million payout has come from,” said Jones. “The Premier uses buzzwords like ‘overall compensation package’ and the ‘cost associated with negotiations.’ Nobody in Ontario thinks those are acceptable answers.”
The Premier and Minister of Education have offered vague, and at-times conflicting spin behind the payouts, and it remains unclear where education funding was expropriated from to make the collective bargaining agreement net-zero.
“What does $2.5 million out of the classroom look like? It looks like 75 fewer educational assistants. It looks like a week of healthy breakfasts for 10,000 classrooms,” added Jones. “It looks like over 33,000 grade 9 math textbooks.”
Earlier today, the PC Caucus put forward a motion calling for the Auditor General to conduct an investigation into the secret payments. Dating back to 2008, the direct payments to teachers’ unions have totalled $3.74 million.
“It’s not just the PCs that are calling for an investigation. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has said: ‘This is not the kind of conduct we should expect from a transparent and democratic government, and we think the Auditor General should investigate,’” said Clark. “If the government has nothing to hide, if everything is by the book…then why not let the Auditor General review those expenses?”