FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 8th, 2016 (BELLEVILLE) – A week after losing a by-election in Scarborough-Rouge River, the Premier has decided to prorogue the House and bring it back with a Throne Speech on Monday. This follows a Cabinet shuffle earlier in the summer that showed all the signs of a tired government trying desperately to stay relevant. Continue reading
For Immediate Release August 8, 2016 (Belleville) -The Ministry of Education has backed away from plans to close and downsize provincial schools including Sagonaska Demonstration School in Belleville. Minister Mitzie Hunter announced in a press release Monday morning that the demonstration schools and schools for the deaf and blind will remain open following a consultant’s report on the schools, which was released late last week. Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith has been leading the opposition to the government’s plans to close the schools and send students back to their home schools. “It’s great news for the parents, families, staff and particularly our severely learning disabled students at Ontario’s provincial schools that the government has finally seen the light.” MPP Todd Smith stated. “However, the question remains for how long will the schools remain open?” Today’s announcement is a follow up to a climb-down from the previous Minister that the schools would be open for the upcoming school year. “Minister Hunter hasn’t made it clear whether the schools will be open past the end of the next year” added Smith. “Is this announcement just a band-aid for the government to get them through the next election campaign? Or, is the government actually committed to these life-changing schools?” The 75 page consultant’s report, released last Friday, analyzes the different supports available at the provincial schools and clearly indicates those same services are not available in most school boards across Ontario. “These schools never should have been on the table as a potential cost saving measure” added MPP Smith. “It’s sad to think this government would even consider trying to balance its’ books on the backs of our most vulnerable students and their families. For Information Contact – Ashley Harnden – 613-962-1144 – firstname.lastname@example.org
DEMONSTRATION SCHOOLS REPORT STRESSES THEIR IMPORTANCE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 5th, 2016 (BELLEVILLE) – The Ministry of Education released the long awaited report into the provincial English Language Demonstration Schools today. The report – which covered four institutions across the province including Sagonaska Demonstration School in Belleville, reiterated many of the points made by the Parents and former students of the schools who argued in favour of keeping them open. “A lot of what is in the report is stuff that parents groups have been saying for months.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith stated. “They’re the same arguments that I made on the floor of the legislature when we debated the future of demonstration schools in April. These schools are giving kids with a severe learning disability hope for a future.” The report, which is seventy-five pages in length, analyzes the different supports available at demonstration schools that often aren’t available in home school boards. For example, programs that the government has often touted as possible replacements for the schools are often only available in select school boards in major urban centres leaving children in the rest of the province unserved. “The government has tried to make this an argument about delivering these services closer to home.” Smith continued. “What the government’s experts have said is that that’s just not possible. Often these programs aren’t available, or the school boards are unaware of them, or they don’t have the resources for them. That’s why demonstration schools are essential to fairness in our education system.” The Ministry of Education has said it will be making a statement about the schools on Monday. “I want the Ministry to commit to a future for these schools beyond 2017.” Smith concluded. “Anything less is unacceptable because anything less would be denying a future to these kids.”
August 3, 2016 Hon. Glenn Thibeault Minister of Energy Hearst Block 4th Flr, 900 Bay St, Toronto, ON M7A 2E1 Dear Minister, I am writing you to express my disagreement with the decision by the Ontario Energy Board yesterday regarding the line itemization of the cost of the province’s cap and trade program. The various reasons raised through the OEB, including the potential for increased customer complaints at their customer service centre, are simply insufficient rationale for denying customers crucial information. Continue reading
August 2, 2016 Hon. Glenn Thibeault Minister of Energy Whitney Block 6th Flr Rm 6630, 99 Wellesley St W, Toronto, ON M7A 1W3 Dear Minister, It has been brought to my attention that the Ontario Energy Board has begun notifying residents in North Hastings that they are in the area with the highest rate of smart meter malfunctions and false readings in the province. Continue reading
Anothony Kooistra's dairy farm in Stirling-Rawdon was the setting for the annual Hastings County Holstein Twilight on Monday night. It was extremely well attended. Many people expressed concerns about the "out of control" increases in electricity rates and the desperate need for some rain.
Todd visited Central Hastings Support Services in Madoc to learn more about the various services provided by this non-profit organization. Thanks to Vice Chair Tony Long and Sally Gale for the tour.
#SavingTheGirlNextDoor On Monday, July 11th MPP Laurie Scott from the Riding of Halliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock came to Belleville to meet with Chief Cory MacKay, deputy Chief Ron Gignac and Kim Charlebois, executive director of the Sexual Assault Centre in Quinte and District. MPP Smith hosted the round table and met with members of the media afterward to shed light on what is happening in our very own backyards. Scott's Bill 158 - Saving The Girl Next Door does four things 1. It allows parents, child protection services and police to use a protection warrant to keep traffickers away from their victims.2. It also allows for victims to sue traffickers through civil court to get retribution, rather than go through criminal court, which is much more difficult.3. Creates a national trafficking awareness day.4. It is asking to update the sexual offender registry to include offences for human trafficking. The bill has passed second reading at Queen's Park but still has to be called to committee. Read more about the meeting HERE