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Ford Nation: Forget Education - Let's Change License Plates!

Updated on April 1, 2019
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

Do We Really Need A New License Plate Motto?


Ford Nation: License Plates And Horse Racing Matter More Than Kids

"A Government for the People?"

Which people? The wealthy elite?

Recently, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who in spite of remarkable similarities to President Donald Trump is not "Trump Lite" or "Trump North," announced that teacher unions better "think twice" before trying to protest proposed class sizes. Days after his education minister, goat cooperative head Lisa Thompson, announced several million dollars worth of cuts to grants and special education, in addition to a 6 student increase in the average class size that could result in thousands of teachers losing their jobs, the Ford government decided that $10 million per year should go into Ontario horse racing.

This, just six days after the Ford government announced that they basically couldn't afford education under the current model in Ontario.

I guess Premier Ford and his cabinet want to play the ponies.

Now comes news that Ontario license plates are going to be undergoing a redesign of sorts, with the traditional "Yours To Discover" motto needlessly being replaced. To paraphrase my mother, "We need new license plates like we need a hole in the head."

Costs for the new license plate design - reportedly incorporating the nonsensical "Open for Business" motto that Ford has adopted virtually since the start of his campaign to become Ontario's premier - are yet to be determined, but the bottom line is, what the heck was wrong with the old design that we've been using for years now?

The "Open for Business" mantra that Ford has adopted is very much a head-scratcher. He has basically set hundreds to thousands of individuals on a path where they may find themselves unemployed in the near future and then is claiming that the province will make money. My question is, how? If there are people losing their jobs, how do you expect that they are going to be able to stimulate the economy? If people are worrying about their financial futures because it seems as though their jobs are potentially on the chopping block, they are going to be less than inclined to spend money altogether. That will very definitely have a significant impact on the retail sector, which begs the question, if Ontario is "open for business," how much longer if people are losing their jobs?

Further to this, the messaging that Ford is putting out is extemely dangerous. The high school kids that are currently watching their futures being put on the line by our college dropout of a premier will be of voting age in the next one to four years. If you are telling kids that you are "investing" in them and then removing funding that helps them be successful and then taking money and pumping it into horse racing and unnecessary license plates, they will catch on pretty fast that you care nothing for their futures.

Kids have always been pretty smart. Sure, they make mistakes, as we all have, but most importantly, they know when they are being lied to. They understand what bad optics looks like, and in this case, Doug Ford has set up the worst optics for his government. You cannot tell a population that the government needs to make massive cuts in education - one of the biggest aids to an individual's success - and then pump money into a sector that is completely irrelevant to their futures.

We can't afford to squander money on horse racing or on a needless license plate motto set up. We can't knock out key supports to students who are already struggling to find their "safe space" in schools when their homes may not be that safe. They need education workers who care to help them progress and be successful. For some kids, school is the one safe space they have. How is that going to work if they are suddenly jockeying for position just to have a seat in a room, let alone get that valuable face time with a teacher?

How does it make a kid feel, knowing the government that the adults that are supposed to protect them care more about horse racing and new license plates for their cars?

It's a lousy thing when kids see that an elected government seems to care more about making the rich richer than they do a proper education.

Our kids deserve better.


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