Brampton MPPs Want Doug Ford to Reverse University Cancellation
The announcement from Doug Ford’s government last week to cancel the Ryerson University satellite campus that was intended for Brampton has been shocking to many in the community, to say the least.
Some are also critical of the initial silence from Brampton’s two Progressive Conservative MPPs, Prabmeet Sakaria and Amarjot Sandhu. After a few days, the pair released a statement blaming the previous government for not being upfront about the state of the province’s finances and not actually putting down actual dollars for the university.
The PC MPPs added that, with a $15 billion deficit, the government had to make sacrifices to put the books back into balance, But that didn’t sit well with Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP.
Horwath stopped by downtown Brampton on Monday, October 29, to voice her opposition to Ford’s move to cancel the university. She was joined by Brampton NDP MPPs Gurratan Singh, Sara Singh, Kevin Yarde, as well as incoming city councillors Rowena Santos and Paul Vicente, at Carve a Lot 5 to to announce a motion the NDP is introducing to reverse Ford’s cancellation.
If passed, the NDP motion would force the Ford government to “honour the long-standing commitments on these three campuses (Ford also cancelled university campuses for Milton and Markham). The motion would see the money entrenched in the spring budget.
“Too much depends on getting these universities built to let Doug Ford rip up expansion plans overnight,” said Horwath. “For too long, parents in growing communities like Brampton were forced to send their kids out of the city to get an education.”
Horwath did not hold back on blaming the previous Liberal government for “squandering away tax dollars” for their own political benefit instead of investing in what mattered to communities. “People are tired of governments who only make decisions based on their political wellbeing,” she said, adding that there is value in post secondary education.
The NDP leader also lambasted Ford for “keeping his plans a secret until the dead of night,” when she and her caucus, as well as everyone else, were notified. “The premier kept his plans a secret throughout the election campaign and until just a few days ago, while his Conservative MPPs assured these communities that the university campuses were a priority.”
Below is a clip of Horwath reading out her motion:
Horwath’s move is similar to what the local MPPs brought forward with a motion to get funding for a third hospital, which was voted down by the government. The difference is this motion regarding the university is more of a reactive response to a sudden decision by the premier, whereas the hospital decision was akin to something the NDP had brought up in the election platform.
When pressed on the government’s response that it needed to deal with a $15 billion deficit, Horwath brought up a litany of actions the government already took that she said would make the deficit even worse, such as corporate tax cuts and the additional $3 billion on the deficit as a result of cancelling cap and trade.
“This government is not being upfront about the cuts that will make this deficit even worse,” Horwath said, adding that things don’t have to ‘go from bad to worse.’
When asked if there were alternatives her party is exploring should the government turn down her motion to provide university funding, Horwath said she was proud that the respective universities and municipalities affected are working together to determine if those projects can somehow continue.
“As we speak, shovels have already hit the ground in some of these sites. Even if they find alternative sources of funding, the gap in the implementation and delay will dramatically affect students in a vastly negative way,” Horwath added, saying Ford doesn’t seem to see the long term economic benefits of a university in places like Brampton.
Later that afternoon at Queen’s Park, the NDP’s motion was voted on but was defeated by the Ford majority government.
“We asked all MPPs to stand with us and deliver the post-secondary investments that GTA communities have long been promised. But not a single Conservative MPP from Brampton, Milton or Markham stood up for their own communities today by voting for this motion. That’s not leadership, and certainly not why their constituents sent them to Queen’s Park,” Horwath said in a statement after the vote.
With Horwath’s continued treks into Brampton, Ford’s party may be at a current disadvantage in Brampton as he leaves his MPPs awkwardly trying to explain to the community why a long term investment in their children’s education needs are apparently not a priority under the Tory government.
No matter what the future of the university or hospital funding is down the road, it seems that provincial politicians are paying a bit more attention to Brampton these days, which could have ramifications for those aforementioned needs in health care and education in the long run.
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