MacLeod: Liberals Choose Partisanship Over Protecting Students
29 May 2012
(Queen’s Park) – The Liberal government has revealed that it never had any intention of working with the PCs to merge Bills 13 and 14. Yesterday, at clause-by-clause consideration of the two bills, Liberal members of the Social Policy Committee voted against 9 of 11 PCs amendments, all of which would have made substantive changes to strengthen Bill 13.
“Its become abundantly clear that for all of the statements about wanting to work together, the Liberal government and the Minister of Education, in particular, are incapable of bringing themselves above petty partisanship,” said PC Education Critic, MPP Lisa MacLeod. “Their true colours were revealed Monday in Social Policy Committee when they systematically voted against nearly every single substantive PC amendment to Bill 13.”
Despite making numerous public claims about wanting to work together and merge the two bills, the Liberal government refused to support a wide variety of amendments to Bill 13. Each of the amendments put forward by the PCs were based on MacLeod’s Bill14, the Anti-Bullying Act, the only comprehensive anti-bullying bill to ever be introduced in Ontario.
“The PC bill, Bill 14, has received nearly unanimous support from stakeholders and anti-bullying activists. It’s undeniable that it’s the better bill and that it will protect more students,” MacLeod said. “What we saw at committee yesterday was the extreme pettiness and arrogance of the Minister of Education and this Liberal government.”
Liberal members voted against ensuring administrative accountability, the establishment of comprehensive provincial and school board bullying prevention plans, tracking and public reporting of statistics, awareness and publicity and procedures for investigations and responses to incidents of bullying.
“Its truly saddening to see this happen. We in the PC Caucus believed the Minister and Premier when they stated that they wanted to provide the best possible bill to protect students,” added MacLeod. “Sadly, the Liberal government prefers a Liberal bill over a bill that is best for students. We cannot support this watered-down, weak and ineffective legislation. Yesterday the Liberals put partisanship ahead of students – and they should be ashamed.”