Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that Doug Ford’s PC government’s budget cut’s to the Ontario education system are “frightening.”
Trudeau appeared at the Canadian Teachers’ Federation annual meeting in Ottawa on Thursday, where he openly expressed that he worries the cuts could damage the quality of education his three children receive at their Ottawa-area public school.
Specifically, Trudeau set his sights at the cuts made to trim costs in Ontario’s public education system, which enrols 2 million students annually.
The Ford government’s move to increase class sizes from anywhere from 1 to 6 students per class, as well as the 3000 full time teaching positions being cut, both received varying degrees of backlash.
The Ford government say they want to eliminate those 3000 positions through “retirements and attrition.”
“As we look at what the Conservative government in Ontario … has done in terms of cuts to services, cuts to kids, it’s really frightening,” said Trudeau at the meeting.
“As a federal politician, even as prime minister, I’m not supposed to have too much of an opinion on provincial education policy. But I was a teacher and I’m also a parent with kids in the system, and I’m very, very worried about them suddenly showing up in September with a class size of 30 plus, less support for the special needs kids, and an environment that is generally hostile to teachers,” he said.
The Ford government has a main focus on increasing math scores which have fallen behind, as well as “modernizing” classrooms to focus on STEM, financial literacy, and skilled trades positions.
Union representatives say the increase in classroom sizes will be a big challenge for teachers, and that the changes overall hinder a high-functioning education system.
Trudeau points to the PC’s smear campaign against him that the Conservatives don’t care about the education system.
“We saw the Conservatives try a number of attack lines on me that I was just a teacher, and how could I become prime minister. I mean the issue, and this is a personal thing, I think being a teacher informs deeply how I am prime minister,” he said.