Saturday, 20 January 2018

Impact of Cabinet Shuffle with new Education Minister Naidoo-Harris

I know there has been lots of discussion this week about the impact of having MPP Hunter and MPP Naidoo-Harris moved to new portfolios.  If you haven't heard, Ms. Wynne shuffled her cabinet this past Wed., moving MPP Hunter from Education to Advanced Education and Skills Development and promoting MPP Naidoo-Harris to Education Minister.

Regardless, this is actually a great opportunity for us.  Within the Ministry of Education, there are actually three MPP's.  MPP Naidoo-Harris from Halton is now the head Minister and she is on record as being in support of FASD.  “The Halton Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Collaborative provides important support for many Halton families facing challenges in their lives. This Ontario Trillium Foundation grant will help them expand their vital services and take care of the unique needs of local children and families affected by FASD. I’m so pleased our FASD community is getting this help.” – Indira Naidoo-Harris, MPP for Halton. Our friends in Halton are all over this and banging on doors as I speak.

Second, MPP Harris is still in the Ministry and MPP Granville Anderson is actually the parliamentary assistant in the ministry. The Deputy Minister Bruce Rodrigues, who all the letters actually go to, is still there. While I am trying to confirm, I have heard there is an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Education who has been tasked by DM Rodrigues to start drafting policy in preparation of Bill 191 possibly passing. The other good part is Minister Hunter is now in charge of adult job skills and training including employment training and supports, apprenticeships, and colleges. We know how difficult it is for our adult children to maintain employment. Minister Hunter now has that portfolio.

We just passed 1000 downloads of the template letter and you may have seen from my last blog that the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario is now sending a letter of support for Bill 191 and encouraging all school boards, SEACs, Catholic Trustees and local MPP's to also support the bill.

If you are up for another letter, I have changed the first paragraph of the template letter to have it addressed to Minister Naidoo-Harris. I have changed the access to it. To access it, please go to file/make a copy. Once you make a copy, copy and paste the first paragraph and put it on your Minister Hunter letter. You can also download the letter onto your computer from file/download as/docx. You should save a copy of your letter on your computer. We will likely be using it a few times over the next few months.

Due to the fact the bill has passed first reading with unanimous assent and conversations are happening in the Ministry of Education, our biggest obstacle now is getting it on the docket for second and third reading. The scheduling of the docket is determined ultimately by House Leader, the Honourable Yasir Navqi in consultation with Opposition House Leader Jim Wilson and Third Party House Leader Gilles Bisson.

We need to get louder now and make it clear we see this as an election issue. Please send it to the four following people:

as well as your local MPP.  This is really important as we now have voices coming from about 80% of the province now.  If 80% of all our MPP's know we are serious, we will get this done.

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